The sad Viennese in this novel fled when the Nazis took over their country and now live in a Gothic houseapparently in Australia, the author's homethat evokes Wuthering Heights or Thornfield. Jolley (Miss Peabody's Inheritance and Mr. Scobie's Riddle tells their story through the reminiscences of Jacob, a middle-aged door-to-door salesperson. As a boy, Jacob boarded with a family that was to teach him music while he went to school. His guardian, Leopold Heimbach, promised to make him ""prince of the cello,'' and Leopold's sisters, Helena and Rose, were hardworking though forbidding caretakers. Drawn to Leopold's alluring daughter Louise, Jacob was in equal measure repelled by his ungainly son, Waldemar. While Jacob's equivocating romantic interests and the unraveling of the family's dark secrets are not completely satisfying, the melancholy elegance of Jolley's prose serves to compensate. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1984 Release date: 01/01/1984 Genre: Fiction
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