The Bread of Exile

Karen Gershon, Author Victor Gollancz $0 (184p) ISBN 978-0-575-03599-7
A curious distance marks these memories of 13-year-old Inge's transition (with her brother Dolph) from Germany to England just before the outbreak of World War II. Though strongly autobiographical, this remains a tale told rather than evoked, as Inge is introduced to English ways and English speech, is given a home by a couple in Leeds and learns to love their young son Georgie. She goes to live with one of her teachers when Georgie and his mother leave for the country after war is declared, but is unhappy there and runs away. Inge finds a job as a servant in a household whose only son, Sebastian, an arrogant, blond group-captain, she can't help loving. Oddly, considering her youth and his station, his feelings seem to match hers. In a barely credible scene, Sebastian, wounded and about to die, asks Inge to marry him. But when he dies, Inge's thoughts return to Rudi, the boy who befriended her on the ship from Germany. She is not, however, aware of Rudi's homosexuality or of his frustrated love for her brother, a dilemma not altogether resolved when, in the novel's final pages, Inge and Rudi become engaged. Despite Inge's courage and intelligence, she is never fully brought to life, which makes it difficult to involve oneself in her problems. January
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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