by Kathrine Kressman Taylor
(Washington Square, 2001)
Reviewed by Sue Feder
This remarkably powerful little story is set to regain its well-earned stature with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who made it an international success when it was first published in 1938.
A blackly ironic tale of a particular time and place, and two particular men, it is also a deeply cautionary tale that would encourage all men of ill will to watch their backs. The two men are business partners -- co-owners of an art gallery which maintains a modest success even during the Great Depression -- and friends, almost brothers. One is Jewish, the other is not. Both are German. One man returns to live in the Fatherland, leaving the other in San Francisco. What happens is so frightening in its simplicity, so compelling in its inevitability, and so awful in its finality that, having read it once, you are unlikely to ever forget it.