War Story is a novel that has already caused heated pre-publication debate here and abroad, where rights have been sold to leading literary publishers in six countries.
What is never in dispute, though, is Gwen Edelman's power as a writer: in stark, spare language, she has created an unforgettable and passionate love affair that raises questions about morality and identity, memory and character. Is the troubled moral fiber of Joseph his human nature, or did he become who he is out of necessity, to survive the horrific circumstances placed on a Jewish boy growing up in Europe during the war?
Reminiscent of Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, War Story is about the relationship between a once-famous postwar playwright and a young aspiring writer who meet in a secondhand bookstore in New York City, and begin a love affair that takes the reader from Vienna to Amsterdam, to Palestine, Paris, and New York. Told from the perspective of Kitty during a train ride from Paris to her former lover's funeral in Amsterdam years later, it is a story of how love and sexual relationships can form our identities, nurture us, as well as harm us. As indelible as it is controversial, War Story is the stunning debut of an extraordinary talent.
Grand and enduring themes play out on a deliberately limited stage in this slim, haunting first novel, the story of an ill-fated love affair between a naive would-be writer and a celebrated, tormented playwright nearly twice her age.
The wartime tales of the protagonist, a famously dark and brooding playwright and writer named Joseph Kruger, overshadow the love story in Edelman's first novel...especially suited to readers interested in fiction about the Holocaust.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Brooke Interesting This book, War Story, was very interesting. I liked the way that the author told the story. She told it as memories, rather than as it happened. She also skipped around to the good parts of the stories, instead of telling it straight through.
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The year is 1949 and Nora, a prickly, strong-willed survivor of the Holocaust, has just walked off the boat in Israel with her German daughter-in-law, Louisa. Superb...a seamless interweaving of observation, memory, and imagination...A mature and absorbing story...
Evokes wartime lives and places with astonishing immediacy and in an utterly unforgettable way, from the point of view of a young Jewish girl and a boy who struggles with his place in the Hitler Youth.
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