“Splendid and absorbing . . . [Drndic] is writing to witness, and to make the pain stick . . . These dense and satisfying pages capture the crowdedness of memory.” — New York Times Book Review
Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, in northeastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an SS officer and stolen from her by the German authorities as part of Himmler’s clandestine Lebensborn project.
Haya reflects on her Catholicized Jewish family’s experiences, in a narrative that deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps, and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, and to eyewitness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. From this broad collage of material and memory arises the staggering chronicle of Nazi occupation in northern Italy.
“Although this is fiction, it is also a deeply researched historical documentary . . . It is a masterpiece.” — A. N. Wilson, Financial Times
“A book of events that have made the last century infamous for the ages, a book that, if it moves you as it moved me, you will have to set down now and then, to breathe." — Alan Cheuse, NPR