In Anoth­er Time: A Novel

  • Review
By – October 1, 2019

By the time we reach adult­hood, most of us have read a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of nov­els about the Holo­caust. This is no sur­prise con­sid­er­ing the seem­ing­ly end­less amount of heart­break­ing, spell­bind­ing, and beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten mate­r­i­al. The hor­rif­ic, unimag­in­able, and unspeak­able atroc­i­ties that took place con­tin­ue to be a source that spurs the imag­i­na­tion of many an author, poet and film­mak­er. And even many years lat­er, we still can’t seem to get enough of the genre. The unex­plain­able will nev­er be explained — yet, it’s dif­fi­cult to keep from try­ing to understand.

Thus, hats must go off to an author who approach­es this much-explored top­ic in a new and quite imag­i­na­tive way. This is exact­ly what author Jil­lian Can­tor has man­aged to do with the nov­el, In Anoth­er Time.

The sto­ry takes place in 1931 Berlin and pro­vides rich, his­tor­i­cal detail of Ger­many at that time peri­od. It also cov­ers the beau­ti­ful and trag­ic romance of non-Jew­ish book­shop own­er, Max Beissinger, and the Jew­ish, Shab­bat-observ­ing, bud­ding con­cert vio­lin­ist, Han­na Ginsberg.

Their inter­faith love sto­ry is at the heart of the nov­el. Added to that chal­lenge is a secret Max holds, one which he is almost afraid to explore. But once he does, he believes it can help save Han­na should Ger­many prove to become as dan­ger­ous as he fears it will be.

The sto­ry is told in alter­nat­ing view­points and non-chrono­log­i­cal order, which makes the read­ing of it very intrigu­ing. Writ­ten in a beau­ti­ful, ephemer­al prose style, the nov­el explores life in Ger­many before dark­ness com­plete­ly falls. It pro­vides the per­spec­tives of both Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish cit­i­zens, who are los­ing the coun­try they love to the mad­ness of Hitler and the Nazis.

When Han­na awakes in a field out­side of Berlin in 1946, she has absolute­ly no rec­ol­lec­tion of the past ten years. Her mind is com­plete­ly blank. The read­er fol­lows her as she recon­nects with her old­er sis­ter, Julia, who is now mar­ried with chil­dren and liv­ing in Lon­don, and attempts to rebuild her life. Her one con­stant is her devo­tion to the vio­lin and she valiant­ly pur­sues her dream of becom­ing a world-class con­cert vio­lin­ist. Through it all, includ­ing her attempt to regain bits and pieces of the ten years she has lost with the help of a psy­chi­a­trist, her love for Max remains steadfast.

Can­tor has writ­ten a num­ber of award-win­ning nov­els for teens and adults, includ­ing the crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed The Lost Let­ter, The House Count and Mar­got. In Anoth­er Time is a strik­ing addi­tion to her impres­sive collection.

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