The German Girl

Armando Lucas Correa. Atria, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2114-2
In 1939, the German ship St. Louis set sail from Hamburg for Havana carrying more than 900 passengers, most of them German Jewish refugees, escaping from the Nazi regime. Correa’s debut novel follows one of those passengers, a 12-year-old girl named Hannah Rosenthal, as she and her rich, influential family hope to start a new life in Havana. But when they arrive, the St. Louis and its passengers are refused entry. Hannah and her mother manage to debark, but most of the other passengers—including Hannah’s father and her best friend Leo—are forced to stay aboard. The ship’s passengers were refused entry into America and Canada as well, eventually forced to return to Europe. Seventy years later, Hannah’s grandniece receives a package from her elderly aunt, who is finally ready to tell her family’s story. Correa’s novel is a timely reminder of the plight of refugees, and the real consequences of denying them aid, but the story itself is lukewarm—a tragedy that never complicates or deviates from its expected trajectories. Hannah never stops pining for Leo, and she and her mother shun other Jewish people while simultaneously isolating themselves from Cuban life. There is also a noticeable lack of detail concerning Jewish culture. Though the novel covers an important piece of history, the story of the Rosenthals never quite comes together. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2016
Release date: 10/18/2016
Paperback - 368 pages
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-2684-0
Hardcover - 978-1-4104-9357-6
Paperback - 614 pages - 978-1-4328-4111-9
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-5011-2124-1
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