Can anyone truly escape the past? Can you leave your family and your history behind and just propel yourself out into the future? Ask Haffner, the Jewish British hero of this colorful, intense, and darkly humorous novel, and you’re likely to get one answer from him and intuit another for yourself. Because no matter how hard he tries, no matter how fast he runs, barking at his heels come the people and the stories and the past he is trying so desperately to forget.
The novel begins to take shape in a villa snuggled comfortably into the mountains of a spa town in the eastern Alps. It is Haffner’s wish to claim this villa as his own, an inheritance he feels he deserves. The quest for it will take him through affairs with two very different women and numerous fights with irritating but powerful bureaucrats, all played out against the backdrop of his inescapable memories. The dominant culture and mores of those who experienced the major upheavals of the 20th century — World War II, the Diaspora— are explored through the actions and emotions of the characters.
This is the second novel from the awardwinning British author of the highly successful Politics, which has been translated into 30 languages.
Linda F. Burghardt is a New York-based journalist and author who has contributed commentary, breaking news, and features to major newspapers across the U.S., in addition to having three non-fiction books published. She writes frequently on Jewish topics and is now serving as Scholar-in-Residence at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County.