The Survivor: A Novella

Fritz Joachim Raddatz, Author Little Brown and Company $15.45 (133p) ISBN 978-0-316-73213-0
Schoolboy Bernd Walther, the protagonist of this tempestuous and engrossing novella, comes of age during World War II, experiencing the Nazi era, the bombings and occupation of Germany, and the postwar chaos and black-market economy. At first, the solidly furnished middle-class Walther household includes Bernd's sister Hermine and their father, ``Wotan,'' a bank president and retired major general, who disciplines his children with a whip. Bernd huddles in the wardrobe of his mother, many years dead, and caresses her fragrant gowns. When Wotan remarries, his tarty young ``blue angel'' bride Irmchen introduces a whiff of sensuality and instability into the straitlaced family. Bernd's needsfor love, sex and foodgrow rampant as he battles for his father's attention. When bombs raze their house, the family moves to the cellar, patching the ruin with salvaged scraps. Irmchen makes her getaway. Bernd's world crumbles but he toughens and views his life with wry humor. The novel's welter of memories is rich with period details. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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