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Hedwig and Berti
Frieda Arkin
Adult Fiction ARKIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Thirty-five years after the publication of Arkin's first novel, The Dorp, her second follows a family of refugees from Nazi Germany as they flee from Berlin to London and then on to the United States. Valkyrie-like Hedwig, statuesque and commanding, is toting along her most prized possession-a trunk full of books documenting the genealogy and achievements of her adored extended family, the Kesslers, who excel at all things artistic, intellectual and athletic-at least according to Hedwig. Her husband (and first cousin), Berti, is so retiring and overshadowed by his imposing wife that he fades nearly entirely into the background. All who know the couple are confounded when they produce a dark, elfin changeling of a child-daughter Gerda, who develops into a world-class pianist by early adolescence (which does nothing to improve her stormy disposition). The Kesslers move from New York to Kansas while Gerda travels the concert halls of Europe; though they have escaped the ovens at Auschwitz, tragedy catches up with them. While the story starts slowly-not much happens until Gerda is old enough to talk-the book is infused with the keen ache of loss, the constant bewilderment and defensiveness of the immigrant and the queer charm of odd couple Hedwig and Berti, by turns furiously miserable and delightfully absurd. Agent, Katie Boyle. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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more titles about

main characters Hedwig Kessler
Female
German
Berti's wife.

Berti Kessler
Male
German
Hedwig's husband.

Gerta Kessler
Female
Age: Child
German
Hedwig and Berti's daughter; piano prodigy.



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