The Exiles Return, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of art
  • ISBN: 9781903155929



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Elisabeth de Waal grew up in an affluent Viennese family, rescuing her parents from the Anschluss in 1938 and returning after the war to a very different country (a story brilliantly told in her grandson Edmund's memoir, <i>The Hare with Amber Eyes</i>). Her novel, <i>The Exiles Return</i>, grew out of that experience. de Waal introduces several "exiles" in post-war Vienna: Kuno Adler, a scientist returning from America; Theophil Kanakis, a wealthy Greek businessman, Prince Lorenzo Grein-Lauterbach (aka Bimbo) and his sister Nina, who lost their parents to the Nazis, and young Marie-Theres (aka Resi), an American of Austrian descent visiting her aunt. Their stories, initially completely disconnected, slowly weave together. The storyline is straightforward, even simplistic, but the plot exists only to support the character studies, and exploration of exile and its effects on the human spirit. I found Edmund de Waal's account of his family's war experience more action-packed and compelling, and it made this novel more interesting because I understood the events framing the author's point of view.