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This complex tale of family love and violence traces a young woman's journey from the pain and danger brought by a youthful tragedy to understanding, acceptance, and healing
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Winner of a Canadian first novel award, this account of a young woman's coming to terms with a legacy of murder and suicide is marked by both powerful characterization and a considerable quotient of tedium. Else Rainer's parents came to Toronto from Germany in 1952. While her mother seemed able to adjust, her father's demands on himself, others and life in general made him restless and dissatisfied. Early on, readers learn that Else's father, a charming, intense architect, continually abused her mother, that after many years her mother gathered the courage to take her children and leave and that finally the father caught up with his wife, shot her on a country road and then turned the gun on himself, an event witnessed by teenaged Else. The rest of the novel concerns Else's uncovering of the story behind that afternoon as she struggles not to deny her love for both parentseven in their roles as victim and killerand to hold on to her capacity to love others. Unsentimental and unflinching, this is a tale of courage and promise, its sometimes murky development and ambiguous resolution notwithstanding.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This winner of the W.H. Smith/ Books in Canada First Novel Award offers an interesting variation on the themes of family violence, connecting it with societal violence and war. The daughter of German refugees from World War II who emigrate to Toronto, young Else watches her father kill her mother and himself as the novel opens. Juxtaposed with this incident is the effort of the adult Else to work out a relationship with Dean--like her father, an architect. Before she can do so, she must return to her origins and expunge the residue of guilt, symbolized by the family's butterfly chair. Her rebirth and reunion with Dean may be contrived, but the result is a satisfying ending without sentimentality. Symbols are plentiful but worked effectively into the story; Quednau is a writer who knows her craft.
- Elizabeth Guiney Sandvick, North Hennepin Community Coll., Minneapolis
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110312025521
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1. Seller Inventory # DADAX0312025521
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1989. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0312025521