Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This is a first novel, and it's pretty well written. Like a lot of novels I'm seeing lately, it's told bouncing between points of view, which I happen to like. In this case it's past/present. But this is a Novel With A Purpose. Not saying it's not a valid purpose. The premise is that Trudy, whose mother was the German mistress of a Nazi officer and an assistant in a bakery in Weimar, is a college professor interested in hearing and videotaping stories from average Germans during the war. Naturally she encounters some horrid Germans who still hate Jews; some decent Germans who helped hide Jews; and one man who is Jewish and reads a blistering prepared document for Trudy's camera.
The tough part, narratively speaking, is that the last interview is with a man who just Happens to be from Weimer and just Happened to see Trudy's mother delivering bread one day and just Happened to have met a man named Max in the Buchenwald camp, and just Happened to know that Max was in love with Trudy's mother and had a child with her out of wedlock. OH MY GOODNESS! Trudy thinks. You mean, I'm not the daughter of a horrible Nazi officer? I'm the daughter of a Jewish doctor? And the book ends. The good thing is that Anna, Trudy's mother, refuses to acknowledge the truth of what this man says. That feels psychologically real to me, and saves the book from being a melodrama. Worth a read. I give it a B.

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