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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a moving coming of age drama
I am a huge fan of Arditti's earlier book, Easter. This is very different in tone, but carries the same tenderness and subtlety. It's told from the point of view of an old man recalling a key period when he transformed from spoiled boy to young man during the sea voyage to Havana on the SS St Louis to escape Nai Germany. The awkward, pleased-with-himself boy Karl leaves...
Published on 3 Oct 2006 by Poppy Goldberg

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Based on a true incident in 1938 of a boat load of German Jews fleeing to Cuba only to be sent back and the effect on the teenage narrator of the story
Published 5 months ago by Dons83


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a moving coming of age drama, 3 Oct 2006
This review is from: Sea Change, A (Paperback)
I am a huge fan of Arditti's earlier book, Easter. This is very different in tone, but carries the same tenderness and subtlety. It's told from the point of view of an old man recalling a key period when he transformed from spoiled boy to young man during the sea voyage to Havana on the SS St Louis to escape Nai Germany. The awkward, pleased-with-himself boy Karl leaves with his dysfunctional family just in time to escape the Holocaust. As his bar mitzvah appraoches, he is sidetracked by love, and the journey becomes a metaphor for the larger notion of redemption. This is a a rites-of-passage story told with grace, wit and enormous subtlety, which will appeal to Jews and non-Jews alike.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Though provoking and powerful, 25 July 2007
This review is from: Sea Change, A (Paperback)
One of the best things about A Sea Change is how the author fits fact and fiction together like a hand in a glove. Ardittis weaving together of the true journey of the SS St Louis as it transported Jewish refugees out of Germany, and the fictional 'autobiography' of a young passengers journey from 'boy to man' while on board is masterly. It is almost as if he wrote a fictional story and the true events just happened mirror it!

The book emulates wonderfully the humiliation, prejudice and degradation that the passengers were subjected to while resisting the temptation to give an all Jews good - all Germans bad image. Indeed the Judaism is mainly a tool to develop characters and to link in with the St Louis journey rather than an essential part of the boys story.

A word of warning though. There are some parts where you do need to suspend disbelieve, the gallantry of the captain being an example. Also the synopsis describes mutinies and battles with Nazis but these incidents are short and play a very small part in the story which is far from action-packed. This may be a disappointment to some readers.

The middle of the book can get a little slow as the story mirrors the ships tiresome journey across the open sea. To some this will be a little frustrating but to others will contribute to the experience of the book as the reader shares the expectation and imagination of what is to come with the passengers on the ship.

The final chapter in which the author explains what happened to other character over the coming years is wonderfully moving and is well worth reading the whole book for even if for some reason the story itself does not capture your imagination.

If you have any sort of a heart and like it to be rendered once in a while read this book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem, 7 Dec 2006
By 
Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sea Change, A (Paperback)
I am much reminded of the style of William Woodruff in this book. A brilliant mind, with an almost faultless recollection of past experience. I was totally enthralled by it. Such a compelling piece of narrative history. The images Arditti has created for me are quite concrete, and I am sure will be the stuff of my own dreams, (but hopefully, not of nightmares).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heart-rending love-story set against Nazi backdrop, 5 Jun 2006
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sea Change, A (Paperback)
Based on a real-life voyage from Nazi Germany to Havana in 1939, The Sea Change is the "memoir" of Karl. As heir to a fortune, he begins as a spoilt, self-conscious young aesthete and, in the course of the voyage, becomes a man - falling in love with the beautiful Johanna, becoming reconciled to his father, battling Nazi crew members and eventually having his bar mitzvah. By turns funny, insightful, moving and tragic, this is the best novel Arditti has written so far - sacrificng none of his intellectual brilliance or interest in religion while telling a story about a boy, his family and his people that everybody will be touched by. Like Philip Roth crossed with Kate Atkinson, it's as readable as it is profound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional writing, 21 Sep 2012
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Sea Change, A (Paperback)
Based on an actual event, the sailing of the SS St Louis from Hamburg in 1939 with nearly a thousand Jewish refuges escaping Hitler's Germany, A Sea Change follows one families plight as told by fifteen year old Karl.

Karl is the grandson and heir of a very wealthy prestigious Berlin department store owner. Along with his grandfather Karl sails with his mother (his father has been absent for eight years), his younger sister and an 'adopted' aunt as well as an 'adopted' older sister.

Karl, now in his seventies, recalls the events of the voyage as he records if for the benefit of his own grandchildren. He describes the situation in Germany before their escape and then details the various happenings as they cross the Atlantic to Havana, the difficulties they encounter on arrival and the subsequent events. Along the way Karl learns much about his own family, has one or two run-ins with the few Nazis assigned to the crew, befriends the sympathetic ship's captain, and experiences his first real love in the form of the beautiful young Johanna.

A sea change is a most engaging account at times moving and tragic, and with plenty of drama. Karl is a likeable boy verging on young manhood, prone to the errors of impetuous youth, he learns quickly and proves himself worthy. The writing is impeccable, the prose flows with such beauty and ease it is a joy to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of growing up and the harsh lessons that life can bestow on you . Brilliant, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: A Sea Change (Kindle Edition)
This is such a well written book, full of pathos. Some of the angst of the narrator reminded me of experiences from my own adolescence. Thank you for such a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snowdrops in the green, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Sea Change (Kindle Edition)
plants arrived in time and in good condition. Well packaged. If I could only get some decent weather to plant them, everything would be ok
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4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read, 17 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Sea Change (Kindle Edition)
Once you get past the first couple of pages the story unfolds, drawing you along with it. A honest narrator telling a tale of many emotions.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 16 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Sea Change (Kindle Edition)
Based on a true incident in 1938 of a boat load of German Jews fleeing to Cuba only to be sent back and the effect on the teenage narrator of the story
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful humanitarian story, 26 Jan 2014
This review is from: A Sea Change (Kindle Edition)
I am very interested in history especially anything to do with injustice to humanity. I liked the fact that the narrator was telling the story to his young family and the honesty of how he felt as a child.
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Sea Change, A
Sea Change, A by Michael Arditti (Paperback - 1 Sep 2006)
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