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Pious Secrets


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In this wry, eccentric and pretentious first novel, originally published in German though written by a native New Yorker, German-born pathologist Connie Bauer brings home a beau, fellow pathologist Ronald Hake. He meets her children and her parents, with whom she lives in suburban New Jersey now that she is divorced from an unsuitably Jewish man. In a moment alone with Hake, who writes obscure philosophical papers, Bauer's eight-year-old daughter, Sally, who often spends afternoons at the morgue where her mother works, confides her theory that Opa, her grandfather with the ridiculous mustache and the German accent, is really Adolf Hitler. Dische has penned a relentless examination of the discrepancies between truths and the pious secrets and lies with which we all live, and of the lengths some people have gone to ``spare the next generation the shame of knowledge.'' While not always subtle, this is a worthwhile novel that vividly illuminates the contemporary German relationship to recent history. (May)

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