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The Jade Cat
     

The Jade Cat

by Suzanne Brogger, Anne Born (Translator)
 
With its sympathetic cast of grotesques, this gripping saga of Danish highlife and lowlife, through three generations of a tormented family, is as diverse and uncompromising as William Styron's Sophie's Choice and Isabel Allende's House of Spirits.

Overview

With its sympathetic cast of grotesques, this gripping saga of Danish highlife and lowlife, through three generations of a tormented family, is as diverse and uncompromising as William Styron's Sophie's Choice and Isabel Allende's House of Spirits.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brøgger's lively and insightful novel chronicles the fates of the Jewish Løvin family as they endure the tragicomic events of the 20th century and adhere to patriarch Max's injunction: “Thou shalt be a personality.” Forging an identity, however, becomes complicated when the family is torn apart by war and forced to abandon its religious identity and nationality. Although the novel expands its breadth by including anecdotes about even the most minor players, the narrative's emphasis is on three generations of women—strong-willed Katze; her daughter, Li, who comes of age during WWII; and Li's eldest daughter Zeste. Hypocrisy, particularly with regard to gender-appropriate sexual conduct, is a major issue for all three, though each fares badly in the battle of the sexes. Attitudes toward Jewish identity—animosity, denial, ambivalence—also provide a common link among the stories. Brøgger offers readers a powerful, personal account of rapidly changing times through the lens of a family whose comedies, tragedies and absurdities are magnified by historical context and whose contemporary descendants provide a glimpse of a more hopeful future. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This semiautobiographical novel clinically chronicles the rise and fall of the Løvin family. These assimilated Danish Jews survive the Holocaust and various wars but fall victim to the advice of their patriarch, Maximilian Løvin, "Be a Personality." The family's decline, marked by adultery, alcoholism, drug addiction, and violent personality disorders, is seen through the eyes of three succeeding generations of women: Grandmother Katze, her daughter Li, and granddaughter Zeste. The author (Deliver Us from Love), who began her writing career as a journalist, describes her cast of misfits with a cool reportorial eye, making it difficult to become engaged with the dysfunctional Løvins. Caring motherhood would seem to be an activity of the lower classes, and the Løvin offspring display the obvious signs of their neglect by frequent visits to mental wards and drug rehab centers, as well as suicide attempts and sudden religious conversions. VERDICT With no happy ending, this book should appeal primarily to readers who love books about dysfunctional families like Anne Enright's The Gathering and Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors.—Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781860467233
Publisher:
Random House UK
Publication date:
06/22/2004
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 9.19(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Brogger was born in Copenhagen in 1944 and published her first book, Deliver Us from Love, in 1973. Her works draw largely on her own life experience and she has established herself as one of Denmark's most controversial and best-loved writers.

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