The Kaiser's Germany is the setting of Sybille Bedford's first and best-known novel, in which two families-one from solid, upholstered Jewish Berlin, the other from the somnolent, agrarian Catholic South -become comically, tragically, irrevocably intertwined. "Each family," writ...more
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The next day Sarah took him to Voss Strasse [the house of the elderly Merzes; they are both married into the Merz family]. On their way in she stopped. “Oh look at them! So beautiful. Your cats.”
He seemed taked aback. He glanced at the yellow creatures on their pedestals. “I’d forgotten about them,” he said.
“They give me pleasure every time. I really must see that they’re left to me.”
“Oh I shouldn’t,” he said.
This book ...more
The story involves two German families, the Merzs who are Jewish and the Feldens who are Catholic. The trajectories of these families are united by a brief marriage ...more
The setting, newly united Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is potentially an interesting one, and students of that period would probably understand a great deal more of the subtext than I did. Clearly ...more
Some clever dialogue (reminiscent of an Ivy Compton-Burnett novel) interspersed with undeveloped characters in a family drama set in Wilhelmine Germany. There's some wit about the follies of the bourgeoisie in Pre-World War I Europe. In the better parts, it reminded me of a Germanic "Galsworthy Saga." But there's just too much missing. It's like watching a foreign language film without subtitles. And I gave up caring at all about the characters about half-way through. Moreover, the whole ...more
The same oppression emanates from English "working class books" (whatever these may be). Maybe it is a problem unique to England? England, after all, does not have intellectuals. German or French intellectuals are elevated above petty no ...more
Nancy Mitford said it was good, and I'm inclined to agree with her.
Read the full review here. http://heavenali.wordpress.com/2014/0...
born in 1911 in Berlin [Charlottenburg], Jewish.
"Its narrator pieces together her peculiar inheritance from the rumors, innuendoes and snatches of conversation she heard as a child [in Germany]"
QUICKSANDS, 2005, is her memoir.
Set against a backdrop of a newly-unified Germany, the book moves backwards and forward in time alightin ...more
Bedford describes the households of her two principal families in exquisite detail. The reader is transported into the opulent, yet dull, household of a prominent Jewish family as well as that of their Catholic in-laws who are political and titled. T ...more
in pre WW1 Germany ,who become enmeshed through relationships of the children of the families.
The narrator, a daughter, in a device Bedford has used in other novels , tells the story of what led to the present situation.
The legacy is past events and actions of the characters, the plots turns involve religion, the wish to avoid scandal , mental illness
and politics, but also a finances, w ...more
As I get older, my tolerance for books written in a stultifying style becomes rapidly attenuated. This is one of those books. It is preceded with acclaim from the writing community, but I end up wondering if we are all reading the same book. It’s presumably the story of two families in turn-of-the-century Germany – one Jewish, one Catholic. I’ll never know for sure since I had to stop early because I found myself reading the same page over and over again in ...more
The Sudden View: a Mexican Journey - 1953 - (republished as A Visit to Don Otavio: a T ...more