Dreams of Innocence

Lisa Appignanesi, Author
Lisa Appignanesi, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-525-93884-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Mass Market Paperbound - 608 pages - 978-0-451-18247-0
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What Appignanesi (Memory and Desire) seems to have intended as a multigenerational erotic thriller is instead a jumble of story lines that span seven decades and attest to an overindulged imagination. London journalist Helena Latimer receives a letter from her longtime friend, environmental activist Max Bergmann, but it's postmarked days after his reported death two months past. Following clues in the letter, Helena tracks Max to Seehafen, an estate in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. In the library there, she discovers Max's name in an old journal entitled ``Anna's Book--the Possessed.'' Written between 1913 and 1934 by Anna von Leinsdorf, daughter of Seehafen's former owner, the journal lays bare the family's dark secrets. Among the revelations: both Anna and her sister Bettina had disastrous affairs with profligate painter Johannes Bahr; Bettina's son Max (as in Max Bergmann?) was fathered by Johannes and not her husband; Anna's son became an enthusiastic member of the Nazi Youth, despite his father's being Jewish. But Seehafen's new owner, handsome American anthropologist Adam Peters, denies knowing anything about Max's connection to the house. As the story returns to the 1980s, the links between past and present pose sometimes predictable, sometimes outlandish, questions about links between all the major players. Lushly overwritten, this is for readers who want to overdose on mystery, suspicion and passion. (May)
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