In the summer of 1970, Nella abandons her husband and son and travels to Munich in search of a lost dream. Although she was saved by leaving Europe on the eve of World War II, she can no longer stand her drab life in Tel Aviv, and over the years, she has often escaped by imagining herself talking to the young man she loved as a girl in Prague, by reciting German poetry in the grocery store, taking daily baths, or corresponding with her aunt Ethel, who raises geese in a Czech village. After her flight from that life to Munich, Nella starts again as a successful businesswoman and becomes the partner of a professor of German literature. But she is not happy.
A few years later, Dudo, Nella’s son, who grew up in the shadow of his mother’s moods, arrives in Munich too, and falls passionately in love with Beate, a young German woman. His infatuation creates a chain of tragic events which Shaul, their Israeli son, will try to rectify years later.
Through the story of three characters from the same family who move between Germany and Israel, love and hate, sanity and hallucination, Cohen-Sagi’s novel bares the relationship between Germans and Jews after the war, continuing into the present. The conflicted relationships between the three protagonists—from three different generations— reflect the tension between the two peoples, with the effort to heal expressed through flight into fantasy and imagination. Thus the novel raises the penetrating question: Is normal life possible after the trauma of war?
Uncovers very complex and exciting psychological material. A riveting novel... Very sophisticated and thought provoking.
There is a valuable reward in store for readers.