The Exiles Return: A Novel

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Within the foreword by Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare With Amber Eyes and grandson of the author, is a brief recapitulation of the de Waal family history and their forced exodus from Vienna due to the Nazi takeover leading to WWII. This unpublished novel was found among his grandmother’s papers in 2005. The story itself evokes the mood and aura of post-war Vienna, both city and residents trying to recover from the past devastation. Having survived as a refugee, Elizabeth de Waal’s has keen insight into the mentality of the people and time, and her awareness of human foibles, is reflected in the story’s characters. Exiles returning to the post-war city find the Nazi arrogance pervasive, subdued, but still prevailing. While poverty is rife, social class titles command admiration, and money translates to power. Among the scheming for wealth, innocence is destroyed. The germ of evil still festers within the city, which once was admired for its allure, charm, honor, arts and overall vivacity.

The portrayal of the post-war resurrection of Vienna is depicted through the encounters of the returnees with the natives. While the personalities of the characters are roughly sketched and appear somewhat two dimensional, the mood of the tortured city and the scars of the wreckage, physically and socially, vividly touch the heart.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Picador 
Publish Date 2014-Jan-07
ISBN 9781250045782 Buy this Book
Issue March 2014
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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