When Barbara Honigmann tells the story of her father’s life – a German and an emigrant, a Jew and a communist – her unparalleled voice turns a personal family saga into a story of the German twentieth century.
“My father always married thirty-year-old women. He grew older, but his wives always stayed at around thirty… Their names were Ruth, Litzy (my mother), Gisela and Liselotte…” This is the private side of a life story that takes the reader halfway around the world. It starts in Frankfurt, goes to the Odenwald school, Paris, London and Berlin, features internment in Canada, and after emigration, the path back to the GDR. During all this, it documents the main character’s recurring experience: “At home, a man; on the street, a Jew.”
Laconically and wittily, sadly and thrillingly, Barbara Honigmann tells the story of her German-Jewish-communist clan: a slim but out-standing book about Germany and a moving profession of love to an exceptional man: “Georg, my father.”