Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully crafted characters; but did you want to know them?, November 5, 2005
This review is from: Heir to the Glimmering World (Paperback)
This book is about lost lives. The narrator, for some reason described in a blurb as 'plucky,' is a lost child who lost her mother very young, and whose father is a negligent wastrel. The Mitwissers, with whom she lodges and works, are a family of German Jews who have lost their home, their status in life, their livelihood, and everything familiar and meaningful to them, during the early days of Naziism. The narrator's cousin, Bertram, initially a delightful and happy character, loses the life he's known to an angry, selfish lover, who robs him of his peace of mind, his reputation, and his finanical well-being before departing for the Spanish Civil War, where she loses her life. James,a stand-in for the adult son of AA Milne, has lost his childhood, his soul, and, finally, his life to his father's more-than-somewhat sexual obsession with the boy, whom he has exploited for fame and financial gain with a book about a boy with long bangs, rouged knees and a stuffed bear. When James dies, a suicide, the Mitwissers, Bertram, and the narrator are liberated by James' money, which comes to them through inheritance.

These characters, and the dreary surroundings in which they live, are so vivdly drawn that the reader can reach out and touch their sleeves.

The question is, why would you want to? The dreariness and despair of the first 250 pages end ultimately in happiness and prosperity for all of the characters, just as fast as the last act of a comic opera neatly resolves all issues; but the reader is left still immersed in the ugly, dim, and hopeless lives of the earlier pages. Wonderfully written, but what a hangover.
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3.5 out of 5 stars (66 customer reviews)
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