Last Waltz in Vienna: The Destruction of a Family, 1842-1942 Paperback – 8 Oct 1982
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For a marvellous readable record of one man's family over a hundred-year period of fortune and misfortune , this is a magnificent piece of writing.
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This well-written, incisive, and even-handed telling of the author's Klaar family in Austria, 1842-1942, is a fine way to find out about how many Jews entered into the middle classes out of the shetl and worked their way up into the military and civilian ranks. The end of the narrative, when the author becomes a protagonist as he does in the opening pages, really captured my interest much more.
I wish Clare had taken more time with his own gripping story rather than so much focus on his predecessors, but this undoubtably is out of humility and respect for his forebears. I cannot tell if the book was written in German and then translated by the same author or if Clare only wrote the German original and the original publisher (Macmillan in London) anonymously translated it into fluid, forceful, and thoughtful English. Perhaps a minor point given the impact of the climax of the tale he tells of his kindred, but I commend him for the effort he put into his work, in the telling and the style both.
Also recommended: Charles Fenyvesi's account of how he excavated the roots and found the branches still flourishing of his Hungarian Jewish ancestors over the past 300 years, "When the World Was Whole."
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