In This Dark House
By Louise Kehoe
(Schocken, Paperback, 9780805210170, 240pp.)
Publication Date: August 7, 2001
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In 1939 the influential architect Berthold Lubetkin abruptly left his thriving career in London and dropped out of sight, moving with his wife to a desolate farm in rural Gloucestershire. Life in the house the Lubetkins named “World’s End” was far from idyllic for their three children. Louise Kehoe and her siblings lived in an atmosphere of oppressive isolation, while their tyrannical father—at times charming and witty but usually a terrorist in a
self-styled Stalinist hell—badgered and belittled them during his fits of self-loathing. Even his true identity remained an enigma. That secret was never divulged during her father’s lifetime, but Louise’s quest to unearth its tragic origins—her relentless piecing together of the clues she found after his death—is a remarkable story, written with extraordinary grace, style, and imagination, of an identity and a heritage lost and found.
LOUISE KEHOE is a writer and garden designer who lives in New Hampshire. In This Dark House won the National Jewish Book Award in 1995 and, in the United Kingdom, the Jewish Quarterly–Wingate Prize in 1997.
*WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD*
“A marvelously lucid account of a savage childhood, and of the family conspiracy that engendered it.”
“Well constructed and beautifully written, [with] an emotional honesty which generates its own kind of lasting truth.”
—The Times Literary Supplement
“An astonishing, impossible-to-put-down page-turner of a book! Kehoe’s tale will elicit glimmers of recognition in anyone who has wondered how to go about freeing oneself from the world which begins at home.”
—Daphne Merkin, author of Dreaming of Hitler
“At once a memoir and a reminder of how the global and the intensely personal inextricable intertwine. An awesome an exhilarating tale.”
—Carolyn See, author of The Handyman
“Eloquent . . . As in the best fiction, the story ultimately makes a scramble of our easy moralizing. This memoir . . . transcends its own form, becoming a testament to the ways in which historical ills sicken the individual soul.”