Pale Blue Ink in a Lady's Hand: A Novella
Pale Blue Ink in a Lady's Hand is, in many ways, a prequel to what is known as Holocaust literature. It is about a long suppressed love triangle between Leonidas Tachezy, a high-level Austrian career bureaucrat, his younger, trophy wife Amelie, and a Jewish woman from his past, Vera Wormser, with whom he'd fallen in love when she was fourteen. After his marriage, Leonidas encounters Vera in a German university town where she is studying philosophy. He makes a promise that implies marriage, but drops out of her life entirely to return to a comfortable existence until one day when a letter arrives, addressed with Vera's unmistakable handwriting in pale blue ink. Leonidas explains his "crime" against Vera to an imaginary courtroom in a way that anticipates Nabokov. The evasions and self-deceptions of Werfel's characters, the various Austrian typesboth Jewish and non-Jewishand the pervading air of anti-Semitism perfectly capture interwar Austria in its poignant final days of toleration.
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Abraham Bloch Alma Mahler already Amelie Amelie’s asked Austrian beautiful breathe can’t child civil servant confession dark dear lady Döbling egg of Columbus eighteen Emanuel everything exile eyes face father feel Franz Werfel Fraulein German Gilgen girls on Sunday going guilt Gustav Mahler hair handwriting heart Heidelberg Heraclitus Herr Minister Herr Section Chief Hietzing honor hour I’ve inside Jewish knew Lady’s Hand Leon Leonidas felt Leonidas’s Lichtl life’s live longer look lover marriage ministry morning never once opera Pale Blue Ink Paradini Park Professor Bloch Pyramidon seducer of servant seemed Skutecky sleep smiled someone Song of Bernadette Spittelberger sponge-face stared stood strange suddenly thank thing tomorrow took truth Vera’s letter Vienna Viennese voice wait wanted Werfel What’s wife window woman word Wormser yellow tea you’re young