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Summer at Gaglow

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Reissued to coincide with the new look for Esther Freud Published by Bloomsbury Pbks for the first time alongside The Wild

About the Author

Esther Freud was born in London in 1963. She trained as an actress before writing her first novel, Hideous Kinky, which was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was made into a feature film starring Kate Winslet. She has since written four other novels. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages. Her most recent novel was The Sea House.


Separated by chronology, history and geography, Eva Belgard and her granddaughter, Sarah Linder, exist vividly in the parallel plots of Freud's third novel, a bestseller in England. Eva is 11 in 1914, a German-Jewish girl who comes of age during WWI; Sarah is British, an unmarried mother of our day whose sole links to her grandmother are curiosity and physical resemblance. Sarah's contemporary trials‘her back-and-forth with her baby's father, her sittings for her artist father and her quest to learn family history‘are interesting but not as compelling as the hypnotic internal conflicts that have damaged the Belgard family even more than war and anti-Semitism. Alternating chapters feature flashbacks to Eva and her two older sisters, who have been convinced by flamboyant governess Fraulein Schulze of their mother Marianna's "evils of frivolity." "Schu Schu's" divisive influence in the family reaches even farther than it seems at first; the unearthing of her role is the point on which the story turns. Most fascinating, though, is the portrayal of a pre-Holocaust Jewish family of the upper class. When Sarah imagines Marianna begging the Nazis not to seize the Belgard estate, Gaglow, because her son Emanuel "gave up his strength for the Fatherland," we are reminded of how successfully Freud (Hideous Kinky) has drawn the opening and closing of the 20th century around the ugly historic chasm in the middle. (Apr.) FYI: Freud is the daughter of Lucien and the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud.

'A perfectly paced piece of high-calibre storytelling' Observer 'Evocative and intriguing' Elle 'A shrewd and absorbing novel, a near-seamless meshing of family feeling, history and imagination' New York Times Book Review 'Reading, you become sort of a tourist, delightedly snooping on how these others live ... Fresh, witty, ironic and touching' Independent on Sunday

After opening in 1914 as the Jewish Belgard family summers at their retreat outside Berlin, this novel follows the Belgard sisters, whose comfortable world disintegrates as the Great War progresses. Alternating with that tale is the story of granddaughter and new mother Sarah, who learns from her father of the family estate in Germany, which is to revert to the Belgard descendants. Freud (Peerless Flats, LJ 3/15/93) cleverly juxtaposes the world of Gaglow as it was and the myths of the inhabitants of Gaglow as they are told in family stories and histories. Freud's prose is lyrical, her characters remarkable, and her story compelling. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.‘Caroline M. Hallsworth, Cambrian Coll. Lib., Sudbury, Ont.

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