Ruth Rothwax, a successful woman with her own business, Rothwax Correspondence, can find order and meaning in writing words for other people—condolence letters, thank-you letters, even you-were-great-in-bed letters. But as the daughter of Edek Rothwax, an Auschwitz survivor with a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to the English language, Ruth can find no words to understand the loss of her family experienced during World War II.
Ruth is obsessed with the idea of returning to Poland with her father, but she doesn't quite understand why she feels this so intensely. To make sense of her family's past, yes. To visit the places where her beloved mother and father lived and almost died, certainly. But she knows there's more to this trip. By facing Poland, and the past, she can finally confront her own future.
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Originally from Australia, Lily Brett is the critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling author of four previous novels, three collections of essays, and seven collections of poetry. She is married to the Australian painter David Rankin. They have three children and live in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
Brett's mother and father were Holocaust survivors who moved to Australia, where she is still known best and where this wonderful book became a #1 bestseller after its publication about 18 months ago. Brett has a body of work behind her poems, essays and three other novels so why her latest has taken so long to reach these shores, especially with a glowing blurb by no less than Simon Schama, is a mystery. It is the story of Ruth Rothwax, a successful New York businesswoman who decides to take her 80-year-old father, Edek, back to his native Poland to revisit the scenes of his childhood and the camps where he spent the desperate wartime years. Ruth and Edek are both vivid creations, she a highly organized person who speaks her mind and is constantly outraged by the lingering anti-Semitism and evasiveness she finds everywhere in Poland; he a seemingly simple man driven by a powerful lust for life food, friendship and sex. Their adventures in Poland as they revisit Edek's childhood home, barter for some of his expropriated household items and share visits to Auschwitz and Birkenau with busloads of tourists who see themselves as following in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg, are at once haunting, riotously funny and deeply touching. Brett's style is so deceptively easy that the book, though long, reads as swiftly as a thriller; and what might seem a claustrophobic dependence on two characters is avoided by a series of canny devices: Ruth's sardonic meditations on life in New York; a strange meeting with a German hotel guest whose husband wished he was a Jew; the introduction of a pair of lusty Polish widows with their sights set on Edek; and, above all, a series of imaginary conversations Ruth has with Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess, from his postexecution existence in a kind of posthumous limbo, where he must attempt to pass impossible tests for heavenly access. These plumb the depths of the astounding banalities of evil and give the book a surrealistic richness of reference. The hardest effect to bring off in fiction is a vision that is at once tender, deeply comic and yet aware of the ultimate sadness of life, the lachrymae rerum. Brett has succeeded triumphantly in the most delightful surprise of the year so far. Agent, Heather Schroeder, ICM. (Aug.)Forecast: This has real bestseller potential if carefully promoted, and what is so far planned as only a local New York tour could be extended. Powerful reviews and excellent word-of-mouth could make it a natural for handselling by independents.
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Book Description HarpPeren, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060084448
Book Description HarpPeren. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0060084448 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0010991
Book Description Harper Perennial, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060084448