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Middle-class, Jewish Hans finds himself charmed by Konradin, the young aristocrat in his class and they quickly become best friends. But it is 1932 and the boys live in a rapidly changing Germany. The rise of Hitler compromises their friendship irrevocably but their story does not truly end until after the war. Readers across the world have been devastated and moved by the shocking denouement of this beautiful and profound exploration of the nature of friendship and the impact of history on human relationships. Complete with a new introduction by Rachel Seiffert, bestselling author of The Dark Room.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860463655
ISBN-10: 1860463657
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 6mm)
Pages: 96
Imprint: The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 21-Aug-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » In little more than a hundred pages, a lingering glimpse of Stuttgart Gymnasium life in the Thirties and the abruptly severed friendship of two teenage boys. Hans Schwarz, remembering this inscribed episode, skillfully conveys the sweaty set of the classroom - academic competition, small cliques, nicknames like Pigface, Smelly, and Muscle Max. Into this arena comes Graf yon Hohenfeis Konradin, a boy of noble bearing from a family with an illustrious 1000-year history. Schwarz, virtually friendless, tentatively seeks him out; they become fast friends ("Castor and Pollack"), spouting poetry, arguing the mysteries of the universe, and resolving the world's problems with the intensity and pristine devotion of adolescents. Then, at the opera, Konradin, seen with his august parents, snubs Schwarz; Hans confronts him later, and Konradin confesses to his mother's virulent anti-Semitism: "I've had to fight for every hour I've spent with you." Their friendship fades, and Schwarz, very much alone, endures vicious hostility at school. Before Hans' cautious parents ship him to the US, Konradin sends him a letter endorsing Hitler and naively assuring Hans a place in Germany once the Fuhrer's mission is completed. Author Uhlman counters Schwarz' adult reserve with the richness of memory-pastries, schoolboy antics, forest scenery - and a bitter avowal of loss and betrayal. Hans also finds some vindication years later when he discovers which of his taunting schoolmates died for the cause and, in the Gymnasium listing, what happened to Konradin: "implicated in the plot to kill Hitler. Executed." A subtle, deceptively simple excursion into the coils of adolescence, surprisingly fresh despite the familiarity of the scene. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Fred Uhlman

Fred Uhlman, born in Stuttgart in 1901, claimed that his South-West German homeland of Wurttemberg, made him a "romantic" for life and formed the essence of his sensibilities as a poet. Understandable since it was also the home of Schiller, Holderlin, Morike, Weiland, Uhland, Schlegel, Hegel, Schelling and Herman Hesse. Uhlman's name is not out of place among these, and the beauty of that birthplace illuminates every line of his stunning fictional memoir Reunion. He died in 1985.

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