A young Englishman visits Cold War Leipzig with a group of students and falls for an East German girl who is only just beginning to wake up to the way her society is governed.
Her situation touches him, but he is too frightened to help.
He spends decades convincing himself that he is not in love until one day, with Germany now reunited, he decides to go back and look for her.
But who was she, how will his actions have affected her, and how will her find her?
All he knows of her identity is the nickname he gave her - Snowleg.
Snowleg is a powerful love story that explores the close, fraught relationship between England and Germany, between a man who grows up believing himself to be a chivalrous English public schoolboy and a woman who tries to live loyally under a repressive regime.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 06/01/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099466093
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Review by pmarshall
At age 16 Peter Hithersay learns that his real father is an East German political prisoner with whom his mother had a one-night affair. She returns to England, marries and raises Peter as the son of her husband. His response to this is to flee to Germany in search of his father and almost cutting his family out of his life. History does, however repeat itself when he is in Leipzig for a weekend and falls in love and then publicly denies this love. He completes his medical studies but his mother's and his love affairs dominant his behaviour until the age of 40 when he returns to Leipzig to return the ashes of a patient to her family. This second visit brings him some closure. The pace of the book is enjoyable, slow and smooth, however the author could have tightened up the second half which focuses on Peter's life in Berlin as a doctor.