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The Exiles Return Paperback – 11 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mulbarton bookworm on 21 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read "The Hare with Amber Eyes" by Elisabeth de Waal's grandson I was expecting a rather sad book about the trials when trying to recover looted property taken from the Viennese jews after the anschluss in 1938, as I knew that Elisabeth had tried to do just this, and it was largely a fruitless exercise. It IS a book about exiles returning after the 2nd world war, and people who stayed in Vienna, all of whom find their circumstances very much changed, but the stories of the protagonists are very personal ones, scandulous, romantic, brave and altogether not what I was expecting. I marvelled at Elisabeth de Waal's command of the English language, her descriptions of the Austrian landscape are wonderful and the narrative skips along, the threads of the story coming together at the end in a most satisfactory manner. An original and fascinating tale. For people who are fans of many of Persephone books, this is one to enjoy
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 July 2013
Format: Paperback
Edmund de Waal is the author of word-of-mouth bestseller, The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance. In his preface to his grandmother Elisabeth de Waal's wonderfully empathetic novel, he writes:

"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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Brown on 10 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you read and loved The Hare With Amber Eyes, then you should read this. If you have ever spent time in Austria and fallen in love with it, then this is for you. If you were intrigued by The Third Man, if you are interested in that strange time between the end of the war and the re-opening of the Staatsoper, this is your book. if you like clever, poignant love-stories, or if you prefer a bit of grit in your oyster, this is for you too. This is a perfectly wonderful book and I cannot understand why it isn't on everyone's summer reading list. It's not one you can gobble up in an afternoon, but it's one you will only want to put down because you don't want it to end too soon. I can't recommend it too highly.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 7 April 2013
Format: Paperback
I was intrigued by The Exiles Return as soon a I saw it written about, as a forthcoming Persephone Book last autumn. The authors name was familiar, because it was her grandson who wrote The Hare With Amber Eyes, a book that I think everyone in the world but me had read. But this was a book that hadn't been read, though the author made every effort to get it into print.

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.
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