Subtle, intelligent and thought-provoking, this is much more than a conventional thriller. It concerns two people searching for truth and hope in a world driven by hatred, ignorance and war; two lovers caught up in the great tide of history.
Martin Kirsch is a psychiatrist about to married into high society, but increasingly at odds with his own profession. At a time when the madness of industrial warfare seems not only possible but inevitable, the question of what constitutes sanity and insanity is, for him, unresolved. When a young woman he recognises from a brief, romantic encounter, turns up unconscious in a nearby hospital, her memory seemingly erased, he feels compelled to take over the case. With fascination turning (dangerously) to love, his investigations reveal a series of tantalizing connections between `Patient E' and Albert Einstein, the Nazis' most influential and outspoken enemy. Believing that Einstein himself may hold the key to unlocking his patient's mind, Kirsch travels into the shadows of the great physicist's life, sustained by the belief that with great wisdom comes great goodness. What he discovers is as troubling as it is strange - like Einstein's universe itself.
Like its characters, the setting of `The Einstein Girl' (mainly Germany in the months before Hitler comes to power) is specific and vividly brought to life, but its themes are universal: love and knowledge, the illusions and delusions human beings live by, the extent of responsibility we have for one another.
This is a sensitive, incisive and beautifully written book. While deeply mysterious, it never resorts to the kind of standard devices common to genre fiction; nor does it ever step over the line into implausibility. The final twist connects everything, and is one that should not be missed!
All in all, a unique and classy novel.