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by Frieda Arkin

Download Hedwig and Berti eBook
ISBN:
0312333544
Author:
Frieda Arkin
Category:
Literary
Language:
English
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books; 1ST edition (January 1, 2005)
Pages:
272 pages
EPUB book:
1842 kb
FB2 book:
1410 kb
DJVU:
1335 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.7
Votes:
167


Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis.

Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis. They flee to London, then to New York City, and from there, finally, to a university town in Kansas.

Hedwig and Berti book. Like Penelope Fitzgerald, Frieda Arkin possesses a rare gift for combining love, wit, and dark realism in the reactions and behavior of her characters in the several cultures they are forced to adapt to. "Second acts this good are rare…A deliciously vinegary second novel. A bravura encore worth the wait.

We’re dedicated to reader privacy so we never track you. We never accept ads. But we still need to pay for servers and staff. I know we could charge money, but then we couldn’t achieve our mission: a free online library for everyone.

Characters and storytelling like this belong in the Fiction Hall of Fame, in the wing reserved for wry and sly masterpieces. Characters and storytelling like this belong in the Fiction Hall of Fame, in the wing reserved for wry and sly masterpieces

Hedwig and Berti - Frieda Arkin. Berti has no English yet, Hedwig says, and turns to regard the room. She begins to remove her wrappings.

Hedwig and Berti - Frieda Arkin. To the merry memory of Anne Ratner.

2 results for Books : "hedwig and berti frieda arkin". hedwig and berti frieda arkin". Did you mean: hedwig and betty friedan arkin. 1. 9 (1 used & new offers). Hedwig and Berti (Wheeler Hardcover). 6 (1 used & new offers).

Frieda Arkin manages to charm us into full involvement with her charac. ore. Within minutes of starting Hedwig and Berti I was . I am recommending this fabulous book to every person I pass on the street. Frieda Arkin draws each of her characters with humor, sorrow, and the sharpest of prose. It has been many years since Arkin's beautiful first novel, The Dorp, but it has been well worth the wait. Peter Orner, author of Esther Stories.

HEDWIG AND BERTI By Frieda Arkin. 258 pp. Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin's Press. REMEMBER Molly Keane? In 1981, 25 years after she gave up writing novels, Keane came out of retirement, at age 77, with "Good Behavior," a wicked black comedy that almost won her a Booker Prize. Second acts this good are rare, but we may be in for another. In the 36 years since the publication of her first novel, 87-year-old Frieda Arkin has written mostly about cooking and gardening

Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her .

Book Description Thirty-five years after publication of her first novel, The Dorp (followed by other works on cooking and gardening), Frieda Arkin returns to the world of fiction to give us another darkly humorous novel, Hedwig and Berti. Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis.

Thirty-five years after publication of her first novel, The Dorp (followed by other works on cooking and gardening), Frieda Arkin returns to the world of fiction to give us another darkly humorous novel, Hedwig and Berti.Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis. They flee to London, then to New York City, and from there, finally, to a university town in Kansas. In London, Hedwig gives birth to a daughter whose broodingly dark construction and immense genius for the piano point back in time to the tragedy of her bloodline.This is a story of prejudice taken to extremes, both within the domain of a severely class-conscious German-Jewish family and beyond it. The characters are subtle, and finely-honed, and their story is told with grace and unexpected humor. Like Penelope Fitzgerald, Frieda Arkin possesses a rare gift for combining love, wit, and dark realism in the reactions and behavior of her characters in the several cultures they are forced to adapt to.
  • Agarus
When Hedwig Kessler marries her shy and diminutive first cousin Dagobert, known as Berti, she plans never to leave the substantial German villa which her family has occupied for generations--until the Nazis come to power. Escaping to London with Berti, the imperious, Valkyrian Hedwig totes the family history along with her in boxes, arriving at the doorstep of her cousin Harry Eisenstein, where she promptly takes over.

Steadfastly refusing to believe that the situation in Germany is as bad it really is, Hedwig keeps the family afloat by selling items from the family boxes when they need cash. When she visits Germany after the war, she finds that "every Kessler she sought was gone. She had lost the flavors of her past," except for what she has saved herself. When her strange, dark, and hairy daughter Gerda is born, Hedwig pays little attention to her.

Disregarding the conventions of plot, Frieda Arkin creates unusual and oddly intriguing characters, who seem to take control of the book, just as Hedwig takes control of everyone's life. Gerda, always at odds with her mother, is a ferocious child who quickly develops a passion for the piano and eventually becomes a prodigy, a "fury" who plays everything her own way. Berti, so self-effacing that even the author finds little to say about his life, finds a job as a veterinarian's assistant, and Hedwig remains perpetually unhappy.

The focus of the novel constantly shifts--first from Harry to Hedwig, and then either to Gerda, as she develops a musical career, or to Berti, shifting back and forth during thirty years. The settings also change, as Hedwig uproots the family and moves from England to New York and then to Kansas, always toting her precious boxes, and always feeling isolated from the Kessler connections which have formed the basis of her life. The constantly shifting perspectives parallel in many ways the dislocations of all emigrants as they move to new places and attempt to establish new lives.

Filled with oddly charming characters, the novel is full of surprises and quirky humor. Arkin never demeans her characters nor does she satirize them. Instead, she shows the characters in action, the wry humor arising from their very human characteristics and the difficulties they have individually in dealing with themselves and their own worlds. Ultimately, their lives are resolved as a result of their own choices combined with the uncontrollable accidents of fate. Filled with ironies, twists, and warm humor, Arkin's novel moves quickly and resonates long after the book is closed. Mary Whipple
  • Nirad
Hedwig and Berti is the saga of a mismatched upper-class German Jewish couple who escape from Nazi Germany, going first to London, then New York, and finally Kansas. The overbearing Hedwig and diminutive Berti must cope with the culture shock of a new home, a lower class way of life, as well as unwanted memories of the past. The birth of a daughter, a strange, combative, rather ugly child with a genius for music, ultimately unlocks a secret of the past, one which is perhaps better left alone.

This is a remarkable novel about failed people, loss, and above all, the effects of prejudice. Intolerance from within their own family defines them. Bigotry from without drives the direction of their lives. Both ultimately contribute to their personal tragedies.

The story is told in a lighter, more humorous tone than the subject matter would suggest. Frieda Arkin's prose is witty and unsentimental. Her style is spare yet colorful. Characters are drawn sharply and expertly. One will recognize members of their own family in them, and perhaps even a bit of themselves. The 88 year old author writes as fresh as a teenager, but with the touch a master, resulting in a book that is both marvelously entertaining and memorably illuminating.

If there is a fault, it is that at times the writing is too clever. The author's unexpected similes and creative comparisons provide much of the flavor of the book, however they can be repetitious and occasionally even jolting, like a fine recipe that is a bit over seasoned. This is a minor point, however, and I heartily recommend this fine work of fiction.
  • Mojind
From the moment Hedwig & Berti arrive at the door of their cousin's flat in London, this novel takes off and involves the reader in the improbably probable lives of Hedwig, Berti, and their daughter Gerda. Hedwig and Berti are German Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Gerda is their prodigy pianist daughter. Hedwig is the defining force of the Kessler family, but Berti and Gerda have their share of the story, as they are dragged from London to New York to Kansas by Hedwig. A quick, enjoyable and involving novel--recommended.