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The Border of Truth

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  102 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Having lost her mother at a young age, Sara Leader has created a space around her father Richard that is sacrosanct, their relationship having excluded all others. But now that Sara has decided to adopt a child of her own, she finds herself facing a genealogical blank slate with which to start her new family. Her mother's family was decimated by the Nazis and she knows not ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Counterpoint (first published 2007)
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Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was ok
Unlike Victoria's previous novel, Loverboy, which is like a small bomb detonating, The Border of Truth is vast and meandering ... a little too vast and meandering. Surviving the Holocaust, adoption, the relationship between a daughter and her emotionally distant father -- all interesting in their own right, but together these strands become diluted.
Oct 18, 2007 rated it liked it
I found the story about the Quanza and its passengers fascinating but I wish there had been more of an explanation from the father as to why he kept his past from his daughter. We only have the daughter's suppositions and that left a lot of unanswered questions.
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: everyone

What can I say? This is my most recent novel. I think it is something a serious reader should/must/could read. Anything and everything I say here is shamelessly self promoting.
Erika Scheig
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
This was a disappointment after Loverboy - it seemed pretty predicatable.
Short Story Girl
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Two story lines. One from 1940, a young man trying to escape spreading Nazi occupation, care for his family, and find where he belongs. The other from 2003, a middle-aged daughter trying to escape the mistakes she’s made in her life, create a family, and find where she belongs. So beautifully intertwined, both characters searching for the other.

Much of the book is historically accurate, even though it’s fiction. I really enjoyed Googling European towns, people and events. I learned a lot about t
Scott Schneider
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting story of how one woman discovers the immigration story of her father. Woven throughout the story are other stories about her research on Walter Benjamin and her adoption of a baby. The oddest part of the story is the series of letters (often written minutes apart) by her father when he as stranded on a boat off the coast of Virginia. He writes letters to Eleanor Roosevelt which never get delivered, yet he persists and they become a central feature of the book. Why continue to writ ...more
After the recent death of her mother and failed romantic relationships, Sara is ready to adopt a baby. When she begins filling out paperwork about her parents and grandparents, she realizes that her father has never shared his past with her. When she begins to investigate, she discovers that her father was abroad the ship Quanza, a boat full of refugees fleeing the onset of the Holocaust. The novel switches point of view from Sara's current-day New York City living prying her dad for information ...more
Apr 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
When I first got this book I was pretty excited. My library's blub sounded quite interesting. The first hundred pages proved that it was much different than what I had expected and hoped for, but I still enjoyed it. However, after the first hundred pages, it was like pulling teeth for me to read any pages. I just couldn't finish it and didn't enjoy it enough to re-check it out. Sure I'm curious about part of the ending, but the switching back and forth between the Holocaust story and the adoptio ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a good book. My first book read of Victoria Redel. Her writing is not bad, and she kept it up really good with the story. The reason why I gave it three stars is because, the story is at the same level the entire time, what I mean is that there was no plot twist it started telling the story of a young man in the 40's, and a 40 year old woman in New York 2003, I'm not going to spoil anything else, some people might like it more than me or not at all. But it was a nice read for me.
Dec 21, 2007 rated it liked it
The story of a translator working with the letters of Walter Benjamin is intersected with the wartime letters of her father (to Eleanor Roosevelt), who was trapped on a boat from Europe trying to gain entry to the US in 1940. As the translator tries to investigates her father's story, the reasons for his reluctance to reveal his past become clear. Most of this book was pretty good, though various subplots felt slightly shoehorned and there were plenty of deus ex machina moments. Anyway, B/B+.
Gitta Westra
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Written in "letter" format, Itzak writes a series of pleas to Eleanor Roosevelt to intervene, filling his letters with colorful rumors about fellow passengers, endearing details about the movies he loves and his adolescent crushes, as well as harrowing tales about his family's flight from the Nazis.He is being held aboard a ship and waiting for approval to enter the US
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story telling as every other chapter was written in the form of Itzak's letters as a 17 year old hopeful to gain entry to the U.S. and the present where Sara realizes the importance of knowing her father, Itzak's, story before she becomes a mother. I wished there was more closure between father and daughter.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was harder for me to get into than I expected, but once it started fitting together I liked it a lot. It's a neat insight on the emotional struggles that come with war.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I had very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, there were a couple of brilliant elements that made me love it, but on the other hand, it was pretty slow overall, so I really can't give it more than three stars.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fact and fiction intertwined, this book makes educational yet gripping reading. A lot was left unexplained, but I assume this was because of the need to protect the real (and in some cases, living) characters in the whole sorry event. A story of hope, highly recommended.
May 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-fiction
This story kept my attention but I much preferred the contemporary strand with Sara the translator and her carpenter love interest. I didn't buy the WWII era letters to Eleanor Roosevelt. The author's teenage boy voice didn't ring true. The letters were too cute.
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found that this book lacked any excitement. I don't know if it was due to it being a historical fiction or what.
Three Dog Books
Jul 20, 2007 marked it as to-read
Sounds interesting. Could be good. Could be underwhelming. I must find out.
Feb 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
I really hated it sorry :-(
Peter Charles
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, admirably researched, well beyond the pale of the Holocaust novel. Highly recommended.
Jun 11, 2009 rated it liked it
at first i wasn't sure about this book with the past being told in letters and the present being told by the narrator but i ended up enjoying it.
Louisa Frey
rated it did not like it
Jul 27, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2008
Gael  Hannan
rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2008
rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2008
rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2009
Patty Paine
rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2007
rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2017
Jessica Redel
rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2017
rated it liked it
Jul 03, 2007
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Victoria Redel is the author of three books of poetry and five books of fiction. Her new novel, Before Everything, will be out from Viking Penguin in June 2017 and is forthcoming in the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Turkey and China. Her novel The Border of Truth (Counterpoint 2007,) weaves the situation of refugees and a daughter’s awakening to the history and secrets of her father’s surv ...more
More about Victoria Redel...
“Sometimes I think we need to tell our stories more than anyone needs to hear our stories. Maybe just so that anticipation or happiness can be reached for again. But other times it is almost as if the story itself wants repeating. So that the strand of hair caught in a kiss or the turn of a beautiful face isn't lost forever. So that, especially when it comes to beauty, we're not alone and left with the burden of remembering.” 2 likes
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