Vienna Girl

Ingeborg Lauterstein, Author W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (383p) ISBN 978-0-393-02264-3
Concealed in a dark cellar, Reyna Meinert, the 15-year-old narrator and principal presence of this memoiristic novel, and her grandmother, the Countess von Falkenburg, await the arrival of the victorious Russian battalions in Vienna, immediately following the defeat of the Nazis. Despite the grim setting, no politics or ideology pervade the narrative. The prevailing spirit is that of the imaginative teenager's amorous fantasies, visions of herself as a Joan of Arc defending her virtue against the marauding Red Army rapists, attempts to make some sense of tumultuous experience. Her aristocratic grandmother, too, lives nostalgically in the grandeur of the old empire and dreams of the return of the Hapsburgs. Reyna is charming, endearing, as well as infuriating, and these qualities mark her progress through adolescence. But too often the novel, like its mistress, lacks dramatic center and tension. Lauterstein wrote The Water Castle. (March 24)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-9770640-2-1
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