REVIEWS : Train to Warsaw
Warsaw was the most beautiful city...
In a heart-wrenching novel, Gwen Edelman sends an aging couple who escaped the ghetto four decades earlier back to the Polish capital for a visit. Their emotional sojourn raises questions about collective guilt and the meaning of 'home'
Review by Gerald Sorin of The Train to Warsaw in Haaretz.
REVIEWS : War Story
from Books of The New York Times
Reflections on the Holocaust and the Impossibility of Love
"A train is rumbling through the ''endless fields of northern France'' at the
beginning of Gwen Edelman's accomplished first novel, about the love affair
between an aging European playwright who has seen it all and a much
younger American woman, who has seen almost nothing. At the end of the
novel the train arrives in Amsterdam where the funeral of the playwright,
recently deceased, is going to be held. Within the short span of that journey,
Ms. Edelman traces the somber and angry recollections of the young
woman, whose encounter with the older man was not simply a love affair..."
- Sept. 3, 2001
from Publishers Weekly:
"Grand and enduring themes play out on a deliberately limited stage in this slim, haunting first novel, the story of an ill-fated love affair between a naïve would-be writer and a celebrated, tormented playwright nearly twice her age. Ten years have passed since Kitty Jacobs and Joseph Kruger were
lovers, but on the train bearing her to his funeral in Amsterdam, Kitty feels time collapse back into itself, and she begins to recall fragments of their life together with startling clarity and poignancy..."
from The Guardian:
Of Love and Loss
"A short, well-made novel, Gwen Edelman's War Story takes on huge, messy topics - the Holocaust, romantic love, the seductive power of stories - and tailors them to the human scale. There's no shrinkage, nothing is diminished in the process, but at the novel's end, vast enigmas seem for a moment graspable..."
Review by Adam Begley
- Januray 25, 2002
Book summary: War Story
A story of how love and sexual relationships can form our identities, nurture us, as well as harm us. As indelible as it is controversial, WarStory is the stunning debut of an extraordinary talentWar Story is a novel that has already caused heated pre-publication debate here and abroad, where rights have been sold to leading literary publishers in six countries.
What is never in dispute, though, is Gwen Edelman's power as a writer: in
stark, spare language, she has created an unforgettable and passionate love
affair that raises questions about morality and identity, memory and character. Is the troubled moral fiber of Joseph his human nature, or did he become who he is out of necessity, to survive the horrific circumstances placed on a Jewish boy growing up in Europe during the war?
Reminiscent of Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, War Story is about the relationship between a once-famous postwar playwright and a young aspiring writer who meet in a secondhand bookstore in New York City, and begin a love affair that takes the reader from Vienna to Amsterdam, to Palestine, Paris, and New York. Told from the perspective of Kitty during a train ride from Paris to her former lover's funeral in Amsterdam years later, it is a story of how love and sexual relationships can form our identities, nurture us, as well as harm us. As indelible as it is controversial, War Story is the stunning debut of an extraordinary talent.