Steerforth Press, Paperback, 9781586420048, 754pp.
Publication Date: February 8, 2000
The central character in this powerful and unforgiving novel is Ida Mancuso, a schoolteacher whose husband has died and whose feckless teenage son treats the war as his playground. A German soldier on his way to North Africa rapes her, falls in love with her, and leaves her pregnant with a boy whose survival becomes Ida's passion.
Around these two other characters come and go, each caught up by the war which is like a river in flood. We catch glimpses of bombing raids, street crimes, a cattle car from which human cries emerge, an Italian soldier succumbing to frostbite on the Russian front, the dumb endurance of peasants who have lived their whole lives with nothing and now must get by with less than nothing.
"One of the few novels in any language that renders the full horror of Hitler's war, the war that never gets into the books . . ." -- Alfred Kazan, Esquire
"A storyteller who spellbinds." -- Stephen Spender, The New York Review of Books
"A marvel of a novel . . . all the pleasures that fiction can offer." -- Doris Grumbach, Saturday Review