Gerta

Katerina Tuckova, trans. from the Czech by Veronique Firkusny. Amazon Crossing, $14.95 trade paper (460p) ISBN 978-1-5420-4314-4
Tuckova’s English-language debut slogs through the unfortunate life of a Czech-German woman after the liberation of Brno, Moravia, at the end of WWII. Gerta Schnirch is the daughter of a diffident Czech mother, who dies during the war, and an officious ethnically German father, who takes advantage of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia to rise socially and economically. When the war is over, the teenage Gerta—who has been raped by her father, Friedrich, and borne his daughter, Barbora—is among a group of German Czechs sent on a forced march to the west of the country by the Czechoslovak government, while Friedrich has vanished. Unlike many on the march who are raped or killed or die of dysentery, Gerta finds work as a farm laborer and secretary to the area administrator. When Barbora is five, Gerta returns with her to Brno, where she is dismayed to find Barbora stigmatized for her German surname, which sets Barbora back in school and drives a wedge between mother and daughter. While the central character is a bit one-note, Tuckova offers many rich period details; the scenes of Czech nationalist fervor are particularly wrenching, but they aren’t enough to sustain the novel. Though the lesser-known story of German expulsion is a worthy subject, this doesn’t quite do it justice. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/20/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-7135-2506-6
Hardcover - 460 pages - 978-1-5420-4315-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-7135-2507-3
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