Hugo Hamilton, Author . Harper $23.95 (261p) ISBN 978-0-06-078468-3

As in his memoirs The Speckled People and The Harbor Boys , Hamilton's dominant theme in this absorbing and introspective novel is identity. His protagonist, Gregor Liedmann, was a toddler when Nazi Germany surrendered, and he grew up in Nuremberg enveloped by the nation's shame. By the time he is in his 20s, a musician living in Berlin, Gregor has created a romantic persona for himself, that of a twice-orphaned Jew. The personal history he tells his friends, the woman he marries and his son, is based on denial and instinct, few facts and much supposition. He believes, because he wants to believe, that he was a refugee given to a woman who lost her only child in a bombing. Hamilton writes vividly about the frustration of a boy living with adults damaged by war, though his examination of the common embellishments individuals use while inventing and affirming their own histories can feel redundant. Even so, the questions he raises are fascinating. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-06-078472-0
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-0-00-719216-8
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