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Other People's Houses

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Nine months after Hitler takes Austria, a ten-year-old girl leaves Vienna on a train that is to take several hundred children westward to safety. For the next seven years she lives in "other people's houses, " and in this novel Lore Segal depicts with insight and wit the settings and the ways of life of the people who gave her refuge. Originally published in 1964, "Other P ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by New Press, The (first published 1964)
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Community Reviews

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I really feel humble to write this review for an autobiographical memoir by an award-winning author who was nominated for the Pullitzer Prize in 2008. Then I console myself with the idea that I am an ordinary reader with limited knowledge of literature and creative writing. It is kind of a relief, since it allows me to use a creative freedom in my review for which I do not have to apologize!

Other People's Houses deals with a ten-year old Jewish girl's life after Hitler came into power and Jewish
Angela M
Many of the books that I have read about survivors of the Holocaust are about those who somehow survived the dire, heinous conditions of the camps. This is a different story. This is about a young girl whose fate saved her from the camps but yet, as a ten year old girl, experienced the separation from her family and her home in Austria. And while this fate is obviously so much better than having perished in the camps or having to live through the horrors and survive them, this is a story of bein ...more
Edwina Hall Callan
What a whine-fest!
If I were that hateful, selfish and mean, I certainly wouldn't be writing a book and telling the whole world about it.
Her poor, pitiful me attitude got on my last nerve and mostly what I felt while reading this was disgust. She just might be the most ungrateful and disrespectful woman ever born.
If I had ever talked to my Parents and Grandparents in the manner that she does ... well, let's just say that I would have spent my entire childhood bloody and bruised.
And, if I had ever
Ayelet Waldman
She is one of my new favorite novelists.
This book went on far too long; it really should have ended when the war did, or at least when the author left England for the Dominican Republic. Instead it continued for like 125 pages more, with stories of teaching English, conflicts with the author's mother, encounters with other expatriates, etc etc etc. And on top of that, the book ends very abruptly, basically: "So my grandma died and I got married to this one dude I haven't mentioned before now, and we have a couple of kids. The End." Lo ...more
I probably am in the minority in giving this 3 stars. It is the story of a girl that could have easily ended up in camps but was saved by staying with families in England. It is told in such a matter of fact way that it appears to me almost ungrateful. I did not find this story to be sentimental or powerful. Good story but I thought there were parts that could have been explored more and less of others.
Elena Davis
I first learned of Lore Segal when I watched the documentary DVD, "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport". This book expands on her family's flight
from Austria by way of Paris, England, Dominican Republic.
There are many gaps in information and jumps in chronology and then there is her mother's ever present influence.
Mary Ann
This is an absorbing story beautifully written. I am a bit puzzled as to why the author chose to call it a novel when it is clear from her Preface that it is a memoir. A very intelligent little girl from an educated, well-to-do Viennese family celebrates her tenth birthday in March 1938 just before the Anschluss. Shortly thereafter she is one of several hundred Austrian-Jewish children to participate in the Children's Transport to carry them to safety. Lore arrives in Dover, England and is looke ...more
Tracy Champagne
I found the beginning of this book extremely interesting. The thought of the children being transported away to England to live in "Other Peoples Houses" is something that held my attention.
It was pretty plain that the Austrian Jewish people who fled their homeland did not have any idea what was happening to the Jewish people in their homeland and the other nations that were taken over by Germany during the war. The thing that was not very entertaining was the time that came after the war; the t
Segal calls this a novel, based on her experience, but I suspect it is mostly fact. Unsentimental, yet moving; the emotions evoked are real, not contrived.

She says she did not wish to write another Holocaust Book, and though always There, the Holocaust is not the focus of the narrative. Segal does not dwell on Hitler's actions, the family menmbers, friends, aquaintances lost, perhaps because the story is told very believably from the point of view of a child, one who seems to have only known thi
Apr 12, 2013 Janice added it
Touching and lyrically written fiction-memoir about a Jewish girl sent from her home in Vienna to England on the Kindertransport. Unlike many of the Kindertransport children, who never saw their parents again, Lore's parents make it out of Vienna and join her, but they're stuck doing menial jobs, and her father, already in delicate health, dies at quite a young age. She and her mother end up in the Dominican Republic, where Trujillo is surprisingly welcoming to Jewish refugees ... what a shock, ...more
I have read other books re the Kindertransport, from memoirs to novels, and Other People's Houses did not measure up, in my opinion.

The first 100 or so pages were fine, after that, I lost interest. Those pages would have made a good novella, in my opinion. I did finish the book.
As a young girl, Segal (an Austrian Jew) was sent to live in England as part of the Kinder Transport. As she admits in the introduction, it's hard to tell how much of this is actually fictional as some of it she recounts in the documentary about the Kinder Transport (Into the Arms of Strangers).

What I loved about this book is that the heroine, Lore, is not a sentimental girl. She maybe doesn't even realize she's in the middle of something historical. She has feelings about her parents that any a
Terri Paquin
Sophisticated prose; stark and not sentimental.
This book is fascinating, not only because of the interesting subject, but for me, especially for the unusually cold and dispassionate voice in which it is written. It is autobiographical 'fiction' and reads like a truly moving memoir, detailing how her life becomes being 'owned' by family after family like contraband and without explanation how this impacts on her adult life and relationships. Extremely interesting and readable: highly recommended.
Billed as fiction, but is close to the real story of a young Jewish girl sent to Britain to escape pre-war Austria. Her experiences there are interesting, but the story flags as it moves into her post-war adult life.
While not quite as polished as her more recent short stories, Segal's debut novel is still a fascinating and absorbing read.
It was a good book, but a library book that needed to go back and I didn't end up finishing.
The Center for Fiction
Cynthia Ozick selected this novel for the 2007 Clifton Fadiman Medal.
Jul 03, 2009 CLM marked it as to-read
Definitely must read! Thanks, Lisa!
Debra marked it as to-read
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Lore Segal was born in Vienna in 1928. In 1938, she arrived in England as one of the thousands of Jewish children brought out of Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia by the Kindertransport and lived with several foster families in succession. She graduated from the University of London and, after a sojourn in Trujillo's Dominican Republic, came to New York City. She married the editor David Segal ...more
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