Reunion: A Novella

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Macmillan, Jun 26, 1997 - Fiction - 120 pages
3 Reviews

A daring novella about the loss of innocence in pre-war Germany.

Reunion is the story of intense and innocent devotion between two young men growing up in "the soft, serene, bluish hills of Swabia," and the sinister (but all too mundane) forces that end both their friendship and their childhood.

The year is 1932. Hans Schwartz is Jewish, the son of a Stuttgart doctor who asserts that the rise of the Nazis is "a temporary illness, something like measles which will pass off as soon as the economic situation improves." The Holocaust would be unthinkable for these characters, but of course it looms over the story: Hans's friend, the young Count Konradin von Hohenfels, has a mother who keeps a portrait of Hitler on her dresser. The two boys share their most private thoughts and trips to the countryside of southwest Germany, discuss poetry and the past and present of their country, and argue the existence of a benevolent God.

The eventual disintegration of this cherished relationship foreshadows the fate of Europe's Jews-- but Uhlman doesn't end his story with neat polarities. Years later, exiled in America, Hans comes upon a revelation about von Hohenfels which provides a stunning denouement and leaves the reader recalling Uhlman's haunting, lyrical descriptions of the vineyards, opera houses, and dark forests of Württemberg.

"Hundreds of bulky tomes have now been written about the age when corpses were melted into soap to keep the master race clean; yet I sincerely believe that this slim volume will find its lasting place on the shelves."--Arthur Koestler, from the Introduction

 

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I want to recommend to you a literary jewel, so artfully crafted that I am reminded of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men:
http://literarybonanza.blogspot.com/2007/06/fred-uhlmans-reunion.html
Fred Uhlman’s Reunion tells of two sixteen year-olds are classmates in an elite high school. One is Jewish and the other is a rich aristocrat, a member of one of the oldest families in Europe. An intense friendship begins and they become inseparable. Barely a year later, however, there will be nothing more between them. In Germany of 1933, following Hitler's ascent to power, one becomes a member of the Nazi armed forces, while the other must go into exile. This small masterpiece has the same force to move readers as it did when it was first published in 1960.
Reunion" is a profound look at both the nature of friendship and the effect of Hitler's rise to power on the lives of all Germans.
"Hundreds of bulky tomes have now been written about the age when corpses were melted into soap to keep the master race clean; yet I sincerely believe that this slim volume will find its lasting place on the shelves."-- writes Arthur Koestler in the "Introduction".
 

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This book was a thoughtful insight to the world and friendship of two innocent young boys in Nazi Germany. It was poignant and touching but at the same time you just wanted the book to continue and not to end. It could have been longer and more detailed.

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About the author (1997)

Fred Uhlman was born in Stuttgart in 1901 and, as an anti-Nazi lawyer, was forced to leave in 1933 for England, where he became a well-known painter.

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