- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd; 1st Edition edition (11 Mar. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1903155924
- ISBN-13: 978-1903155929
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.5 x 19.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Exiles Return Paperback – 11 Mar 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
"My grandmother had spent her life in transit between countries: she kept only the things that mattered to her. And these pages did...This untitled novel, now called The Exiles Return, was not published in her lifetime. In conversation with her about why writing matters, she never revealed what this fact meant to her, and it was only recently that I found this single and extraordinary page:
"'Why am I making such a great effort and taxing my own endurance and energy to write this book that no one will read? Why do I have to write? Because I have always written, all my life, and have always striven to do so, and have always faltered on the way and hardly ever succeeded in getting published....What is lacking? I have a feeling for language...But I think I write in a rarified atmosphere. I lack the common touch, it is all too finely distilled. I deal in essences, the taste of which is too subtle to register on the tongue. It is the quintessence of experiences, not the experiences themselves...I distill too much.'"
Mr de Waal continues: "Elisabeth de Waal was Viennese and this is a novel about being Viennese. As such, it is a novel about exile and about return, about the push and pull of love, anger and despair about a place which is part of your identity, but which has also rejected you.Read more ›
And yet it holds stories that have been little told. Stories of exiles returning to Austria after the war, when the country regained its independence. Fascinating stories, that are quietly compelling because they are much more than stories. They are testimonies created from the authors own experiences.
There are three main strands. There is a Jewish professor who had taken his family to America when he saw danger at home; they thrived in their new life but he did not, and has returned alone. There is an entrepreneur, of Greek descent, who is returning to a city where he believes he will find business and social openings. And there is an American girl, the daughter of immigrants, who has been sent to stay with relations in the hope that it would pull her out of what seemed to be apathy with her life.
And in consequence there are three very different stories, told in different styles. I questioned the shifting narrative at first, but as I read I came to realise that it was very, very effective. It emphasised that so many lives were affected, in so many ways, and that there would be countless consequences.
There are so many moments that I could pull out.
Professor Adler's realisation that he really had come home. His later realisation that home had changed, in ways he had not anticipated.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book gave a fascinating account of life the cultural life of Jewish people in Austria before and during the period of Nazi occupation.Published 1 month ago by Moira C
Beautifully written and highly evocative account of Vienna and Austria in the period leading up to the departure of the Occupying forces. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr R Glynn
Lovely story, sad but consistent; well fitted into the historical background of post-war Vienna. Enjoyed reading it.Published 3 months ago by Maj-Britt E. Hoglund
Really enjoyable and interesting read. Quite inciteful into the Austrian post war society.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I loved this book and found it difficult to out down. Elizabeth de Vaal's story stayed with me for weeks after finishing the book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
An interesting story line, writing about experiences which former ex patriated Jewish people encountered on their return to their 'home' land.Published 15 months ago by G. Swain