Monday, August 28, 2006


Book Number 11: Reunion, by Fred Uhlman
Country: Germany

While I was in London this weekend, I took the opportunity to make a beeline for my favourite book shop. I first discovered it last year, while I was doing an internship in London. Naturally an early riser, I found myself with nothing much to do one Saturday morning, so I headed out to a book shop I'd read about in a London guide with the intent of finding something new to read and spending the rest of the weekend curled up with my new treasures. Much to my delight, the book shop was blissfully empty of other customers, and I spent an entire morning wandering round the impresive selection on the shelves, pulling out books, then sprawling across a huge squishy couch with a pile of books beside me, reading Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende while Ella Fitzgerald played softly in the background. I was in heaven.

This weekend, while meandering slowly around the fiction shelves, a small book caught my eye; partly because the author's name hinted at a European origin, and partly because of the book's publisher, which I know from experience selects books I enjoy and also creates beautiful covers for them which immensely enhances the pleasure of reading. I glanced at the brief blurb on the back, and settled down onto the same couch to read the book and was shortly lost in the captivating story.

It is an enchanting tale of unlikely friendship between two boys, one a rich German aristocrat from an old established family, and one a middle class Jew. As so often happens with children, their differences never bothered them until Hitler arrived on the scene and society turned against all Jews. Their friendship was torn apart, and the young Jew was sent to America by his parents in order to avoid persecution by Hitler's regime. I can't tell you the ending, because that would spoil a first reading of the book, but it is exceptionally good. I should really implement some kind of ranking system, because I seem to have been quite nice about all the books I've read so far - but this one would definitely merit 11 out of 10. It is very delicately written and I never can resist emotionally charged books. Heaven revisited!

*In case you're wondering what this wondrous book shop is I've been raving about, I have to confess it is Borders on Oxford Street. I'm sorry it's an evil corporate giant and not an independent, but I love it so. I can't help myself! The fact that they don't mind you reading the books in the store without buying them is amazing; for me, reading is never better than when I am surrounded by masses of books with masses of time to dip into as many as possible.


booklogged said...

It's such a joy to visit your site and read your posts. 'Reunion' definitely has my attention, but our library doesn't have a copy so I'll be buying it online.

I'm starting to make a list of authors from different countries and I'm thinking of setting a much smaller goal for myself. You've inspired me.

The Traveller said...

That's so lovely, thank you so much. I'm really enjoying reading world literature - I think overall, the quality of the works I've been reading is much higher than what I'd normally read, and there's a wider breadth of topics because each author is inspired by something different from their society or their country's history.

Maybe we could read some authors from other countries together? I'm about to start on African authors, and I'll be looking at poetry and short stories as well as novels. If we can find copies of the same works, we could compare thoughts! There are definitely anthologies of both poetry and short stories out there.