An Admirable Woman

Overview

This arresting contemporary novel is the story of Erika Hertz, one of those magnetic German Jewish intellectuals driven from Germany by the Nazis, who becomes a legend in America. "Admirable," the word Erika accepts for herself, is taken from an academic's compliment and turned over and over in the auto-biographical narrative as if it were a diamond suspected of flaws.

An Admirable Woman is her book, told in her American voice, a voice in which the ghost of her German hovers ...

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Overview

This arresting contemporary novel is the story of Erika Hertz, one of those magnetic German Jewish intellectuals driven from Germany by the Nazis, who becomes a legend in America. "Admirable," the word Erika accepts for herself, is taken from an academic's compliment and turned over and over in the auto-biographical narrative as if it were a diamond suspected of flaws.

An Admirable Woman is her book, told in her American voice, a voice in which the ghost of her German hovers like a lost homeland. She is the daughter of not-so-Jewish Berlin Jews for whom the coming of the Nazis is a surprise they misread. For Erika, political reality is less of a secret, and she leaves the university for Paris with Martens—the older, Aryan, art historian lover she has married. Paris, bristling with refugees, is meager, and so, with the thin promise of a job for Martens in America, they leave.

Erika goes through the writer's grubstreet routines in New York, overcomes the numbing disorientation so many refugees feel, and slowly acquires a substantial, and substantially intimidating, reputation in modern intellectual history. Her success—she becomes one of those whose work the well-informed everywhere must know—is not matched by Martens, and, as their live together dwindles to his death, it is counterpointed by her affair with a famous musician. But even this sweetness cannot breach Erika's insular self-sufficiency and so change the nature of her life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879237059
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1983
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 5.65 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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