The Oriental Wife

Evelyn Toynton. Other Press, $15.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-59051-441-2
Toynton's second novel is a sad, quiet tale of desperate refugees from Nazi Germany trying to build new lives in America while holding on to pieces of their past. Louisa, the teenage daughter of Jewish parents, is sent to an international school in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she persuades herself she's fallen in love with Julian, a schoolmate's brother, although she's more in love with the idea of him than the actual man. She travels to London before the war, where she drifts into a relationship with Phillip, another Englishman, who wants to write about the experiences of German-Jewish refugees. Phillip takes her with him to the U.S., promising marriage, hoping Louisa can help him gain access to refugees through her cousin Otto and his friend Rolf. When Phillip becomes abusive and alcoholic, Louisa flees back to Otto and Rolf, and winds up marrying Rolf. What seems like a fresh hope for the future quickly descends into years of endurance after a medical diagnosis changes all their lives—Louisa's, Rolf's, and their daughter, Emma's. The writing is beautiful, but the book is unrelentingly sad. Even during the brief passages of happiness, one waits for Toynton to drop the inevitable other shoe on the heads of her unlucky characters. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 154 pages - 978-1-59051-442-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-6814-5
Show other formats
Discover what to read next