Damned Strong Love, a True Story

Lutz Van Dijk, Author, Lutz Van Dijk, Author, Elizabeth D. Crawford, Translator Henry Holt & Company $15.95 (138p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3770-8
The word ``damned'' in this novel's title is not just an attention-grabbing expletive-it quite literally describes the consequences of the love between a teenaged Pole and a Nazi soldier during WWII. Narrator Stephan is 16 when he realizes he is gay; only months later, he meets an Austrian soldier named Willi: ``Before my eyes I saw only him, this tender, handsome man-without his uniform, without the war and all of world history. Only him.'' Willi, equally enamored, and Stephan shut out the war (and the Nazi persecution of homosexuals) and embark on a passionate affair until Willi's unit is sent to Russia. Despite the sophisticated themes, the most striking quality of this narrative is its unblemished innocence: Stephan's easy acceptance of his sexuality makes it virtually impossible for the reader to reject it; and his susceptibility to a single individual rather than to the inimical German regime raises valuable if painful questions. Stephan's artlessness proves his downfall: he sends Willi a letter (``I can't sleep, I think only of you''), which leads to Stephan's arrest and a brutal three-year imprisonment (he is freed only when the war ends). Willi's fate, ominously, is never discovered. German writer van Dijk, identifying his story as a true one, appends an afterword by the real-life Stephan. Wrenching-and profoundly illuminating. Ages 14-up. (May) q
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.