Clara Herzog is a privileged, intelligent, and thoughtful young woman whose world is changed forever when 1930s Vienna is swept up by the dark prelude of the Second World War. Read more...
Clara Herzog is a privileged, intelligent, and thoughtful young woman whose world is changed forever when 1930s Vienna is swept up by the dark prelude of the Second World War. The cavalry officer she married in spite of her family's objections is soon called away to the thick of the conflict, and it falls to Clara, as to so many mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts through the centuries, to stay at home to provide and protect.
Through the war, its aftermath, and into the present, Clara must make choices and take risks that are as heroic and life-altering as any that men make in battle. She is an unforgettable character, and this is an unforgettable novel about family bonds and women's deep friendships, about courage and the love that can endure even in unimaginable times."
- ISBN-13: 9780771071324
- ISBN-10: 0771071329
- Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
- Publish Date: March 2014
- Page Count: 369
- Dimensions: 8.13 x 5.2 x 1.04 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.76 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-03-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Palka's fifth novel (originally published as Patient Number 7 in 2012) begins in Vienna in the 1930s. Nazi Germany has not yet tightened its grip on Austria, but the air is rife with differing ideological debates and activities. Clara Herzog is a graduate philosophy student at the University of Vienna, fascinated by "isms", including Zionism, communism, National Socialism (Nazism), capitalism and existentialism. She loves her studies, professors, literature, best friends Mitzi and Erica, and most of all, Albert, a motorcycle-riding captain in the reserve cavalry. Despite objections from her family, Clara marries Albert. He is soon absorbed into the Nazi army machine, rises quickly through the ranks, is decorated, and serves beside the likes of General Rommel in Russia, Europe and Africa. Clara struggles to live life according to the ideals of self-determination, personal responsibility and accountability she has embraced since her youth, in spite of the fear, despair, alienation, loneliness and loss she experiences in the madness surrounding her. With great sensitivity, Palka tells Clara's story, building sympathy and admiration for the strength, courage, unwavering love and compassion she demonstrates in the face of unbelievable challenges. This deeply engrossing and unforgettable novel will leave readers shouting "bravo" for the resiliency of the human spirit. (Apr.)