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The Exiles Return Paperback – 11 Mar 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads."--"The Guardian" (London)

"[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragility of a city trying to rebuild itself on uncertain foundations....It is an important story and now, at last, it has been told."--"The Spectator" (London)

""The Exiles Return" is a novel of great vividness and great tenderness, which at its heart depicts what it might mean to return from exile. Within its pages it reflects a truly ambitious writer and a woman of considerable courage."--from Edmund de Waal's Foreword


"Like Irene Nemirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling "The Hare with Amber Eyes", their Jewish banking family's possessions were appropriated by the Germans when they marched in Austria.... Expect poignancy and an indelible sense of the time."--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (Barbara's Picks)

"An elegant, unpublished novel...This novel reveals [de Waal's] intelligence and articulateness as it evokes 1950s Vienna, haunted by the ghosts of its distant and more recent pasts.... Restrained yet incisive, this finely observed novel lacks a resounding conclusion but nevertheless offers European mood music of a particular and beguiling resonance."--"Kirkus Reviews

""This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads."--"The Guardian" (London)

"[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragility of a city trying to rebuild itself on uncertain foundations....It is an important story and now, at last, it has been told."--"The Spectator" (London)

""The Exiles Return" is a novel of great vividness and great tenderness, which at its heart depicts what it might mean to return from exile. Within its pages it reflects a truly ambitious writer and a woman of considerable courage."--from Edmund de Waal's Foreword




"[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna....De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"

"Like Irene Nemirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling "The Hare with Amber Eyes", their Jewish banking family's possessions were appropriated by the Germans when they marched in Austria.... Expect poignancy and an indelible sense of the time."--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (Barbara's Picks)

"An elegant, unpublished novel...This novel reveals [de Waal's] intelligence and articulateness as it evokes 1950s Vienna, haunted by the ghosts of its distant and more recent pasts.... Restrained yet incisive, this finely observed novel lacks a resounding conclusion but nevertheless offers European mood music of a particular and beguiling resonance."--"Kirkus Reviews

""This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads."--"The Guardian" (London)

"[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragility of a city trying to rebuild itself on uncertain foundations....It is an important story and now, at last, it has been told."--"The Spectator" (London)

""The Exiles Return" is a novel of great vividness and great tenderness, which at its heart depicts what it might mean to return from exile. Within its pages it reflects a truly ambitious writer and a woman of considerable courage."--from Edmund de Waal's Foreword

"The Exiles Return has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way....With the publication, after all these years, of The Exiles Return, we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, " The New York Times Book Review
"
""The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses...."The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
""[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna....De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"
"Like Irene Nemirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling "The Hare with Amber Eyes," their Jewish banking family's possessions were appropriated by the Germans when they marched in Austria.... Expect poignancy and an indelible sense of the time."--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (Barbara's Picks)
"An elegant, unpublished novel...This novel reveals [de Waal's] intelligence and articulateness as it evokes 1950s Vienna, haunted by the ghosts of its distant and more recent pasts.... Restrained yet incisive, this finely observed novel lacks a resounding conclusion but nevertheless offers European mood music of a particular and beguiling resonance."--"Kirkus Reviews
""This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads."--"The Guardian" (London)
"[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragilit

There is a distinctly fin de siecle feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters...."The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot."--"The Chicago Tribune
"
"The Exiles Return has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way....With the publication, after all these years, of The Exiles Return, we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, " The New York Times Book Review
"""The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses...."The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
""[The Exiles Return] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms...And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna."--"San Francisco Chronicle
"
"[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna....De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"
"

"There is a distinctly fin de siecle feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters...."The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot."--"The Chicago Tribune
"
"The Exiles Return has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way....With the publication, after all these years, of The Exiles Return, we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, " The New York Times Book Review
"""The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses...."The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
""[The Exiles Return] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms...And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna."--"San Francisco Chronicle
"
"[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna....De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"


"Elisabeth de Waal has assembled an unusual tableau -- evocative and altogether memorable.... Here's hoping that "The Exiles Return" will now find the American audience that it deserves."--Erika Dreifus, "The Washington Post
""There is a distinctly "fin de siecle" feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters...."The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot."--"The Chicago Tribune
"
"The Exiles Return has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way....With the publication, after all these years, of The Exiles Return, we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, " The New York Times Book Review
"""The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses...."The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
""[The Exiles Return] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms...And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna."--"San Francisco Chronicle
"
"[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna....De Waal's acid, eye

"Has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way."--"The New York Times Book Review
""With the publication, after all these years, of "The Exiles Return," we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, "The New York Times Book Review
""A masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
""["The Exiles Return"] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms . . . And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna."--"San Francisco Chronicle
"
"Elisabeth de Waal has assembled an unusual tableau--evocative and altogether memorable . . . Here's hoping that "The Exiles Return" will now find the American audience that it deserves."--Erika Dreifus, "The Washington Post
""There is a distinctly "fin de siecle" feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters . . . "The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot."--"Chicago Tribune
""
"""The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses . . . "The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
"
"[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna . . . De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"
"Like Irene Nemirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling "The Hare with Amber Eyes," their Jewish banking family's possessions were appropriated by the Germans when they marched in Austria . . . Expect poignancy and an indelible sense of the time."--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (Barbara's Picks)
"An elegant, unpublished novel . . . This novel reveals [de Waal's] intelligence and articulateness as it evokes 1950s Vienna, haunted by the ghosts of its distant and more recent pasts . . . Restrained yet incisive, this finely observed novel lacks a resounding conclusion but nevertheless offers European mood music of a particular and beguiling resonance."--"Kirkus Reviews
""This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads."--"The Guardian" (London)
"[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragility of a city trying to rebuild itself on uncertain foundations . . . It is an important story and now, at last, it has been told."--"The Spectator" (London)
""The Exiles Return" is a novel of great vividness and great tenderness, which at its heart depicts what it might mean to return from exile. Within its pages it reflects a truly ambitious writer and a woman of considerable courage."--from Edmund de Waal's Foreword

"["The Exiles Return"] has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way."--"The New York Times Book Review
""With the publication, after all these years, of "The Exiles Return," we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, "The New York Times Book Review
""A masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
""["The Exiles Return"] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms . . . And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna."--"San Francisco Chronicle
"
"Elisabeth de Waal has assembled an unusual tableau--evocative and altogether memorable . . . Here's hoping that "The Exiles Return" will now find the American audience that it deserves."--Erika Dreifus, "The Washington Post
""There is a distinctly "fin de siecle" feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters . . . "The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot."--"Chicago Tribune
""
"""The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses . . . "The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News
"
"[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna . . . De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"
"Like Irene Nemirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling "The Hare with Amber Eyes," their Jewish banking family's possessions were appropriated by the Germans when they marched in Austria . . . Expect poignancy and an indelible sense of the time."--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (Barbara's Picks)
"An elegant, unpublished novel . . . This novel reveals [de Waal's] intelligence and articulateness as it evokes 1950s Vienna, haunted by the ghosts of its distant and more recent pasts . . . Restrained yet incisive, this finely observed novel lacks a resounding conclusion but nevertheless offers European mood music of a particular and beguiling resonance."--"Kirkus Reviews
""This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads."--"The Guardian" (London)
"[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragility of a city trying to rebuild itself on uncertain foundations . . . It is an important story and now, at last, it has been told."--"The Spectator" (London)
""The Exiles Return" is a novel of great vividness and great tenderness, which at its heart depicts what it might mean to return from exile. Within its pages it reflects a truly ambitious writer and a woman of considerable courage."--from Edmund de Waal's Foreword

["The Exiles Return"] has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way. "The New York Times Book Review"

With the publication, after all these years, of "The Exiles Return," we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed. "Andrew Ervin, The New York Times Book Review"

A masterpiece of European literature. "The Buffalo News"

["The Exiles Return"] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms . . . And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna. "San Francisco Chronicle"

Elisabeth de Waal has assembled an unusual tableau--evocative and altogether memorable . . . Here's hoping that "The Exiles Return" will now find the American audience that it deserves. "Erika Dreifus, The Washington Post"

There is a distinctly "fin de siecle" feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters . . . "The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot. "Chicago Tribune"

"The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses . . . "The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature. "The Buffalo News"

[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna . . . De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions. "Booklist"

Like Irene Nemirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling "The Hare with Amber Eyes," their Jewish banking family's possessions were appropriated by the Germans when they marched in Austria . . . Expect poignancy and an indelible sense of the time. "Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (Barbara's Picks)"

An elegant, unpublished novel . . . This novel reveals [de Waal's] intelligence and articulateness as it evokes 1950s Vienna, haunted by the ghosts of its distant and more recent pasts . . . Restrained yet incisive, this finely observed novel lacks a resounding conclusion but nevertheless offers European mood music of a particular and beguiling resonance. "Kirkus Reviews"

This is a rewarding study of loss, and a fine snapshot of a city and society standing ravaged at a crossroads. "The Guardian (London)"

[Elisabeth de Waal] captures the fragility of a city trying to rebuild itself on uncertain foundations . . . It is an important story and now, at last, it has been told. "The Spectator (London)"

"The Exiles Return" is a novel of great vividness and great tenderness, which at its heart depicts what it might mean to return from exile. Within its pages it reflects a truly ambitious writer and a woman of considerable courage. "from Edmund de Waal's Foreword"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Elisabeth de Waal was born in Vienna in 1899. She studied philosophy, law, and economics at the University of Vienna, and completed her doctorate in 1923. She also wrote poems (often corresponding with Rilke), and was a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at Columbia. She wrote five unpublished novels, two in German and three in English, including "The Exiles Return" in the late 1950s. She died in 1991. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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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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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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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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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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