The Kaminsky Cure

The Kaminsky Cure

by Christopher New


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781883285678
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/12/2016
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Christopher New was born in England and educated at Oxford and Princeton. He is the author of many books, among them The China Coast Trilogy, (the New York Times Bestseller, Shanghai, The Chinese Box, A Change of Flag). These novels have been described as “the definitive account of the British Presence in furthest Asia, and “a literary feat of the highest quality,” and have been widely translated. Formerly the head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Hong Kong, Christopher New is the author of The Philosophy of Literature. He divides his time between Bankok and Berlin.

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The Kaminsky Cure 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
BooksDirect More than 1 year ago
The story begins Christmas 1939, when our unnamed narrator is only five-and-three-quarters years old. He lives in the Austrian town of Heimstatt (which cleverly translates to "homeland") with his parents - Willibald and Gabi Brinkmann - and three siblings - Ilse, Martin, and Sara. Willibald is a Lutheran pastor, an Aryan, a staunch supporter of Hitler, and very much an absent father, who perpetually locks himself in his study to write religious plays that no one will ever perform. His wife Gabi was born a Jew but converted to Christianity in her teens. Nevertheless, in this time of the Nazi regime, she is not accepted by the townspeople - or even by her own husband. Her main goal in life is to ensure the education of her children. She constantly hatches new schemes to get around the laws that continually change to prevent Jews from getting educated. Along the way, she employs tutor Hertha von Kaminsky, who teaches Gabi the Kaminsky Cure - the art of taking in a mouthful of water to prevent oneself from speaking out inappropriately; this technique will come into play at crucial times throughout the narrative. The story is told through the eyes of our child narrator. His tone remains light and humorous despite the constant "disappearances" and atrocities being committed around him. He reports with an air of innocence and naïveté, but with the wisdom of an adult, using a lot of foreshadowing and portent to keep the reader engaged. Another trick the author employs is to cut off the last sentence of each chapter, thereby forcing the reader to turn the page to read the end of the sentence, which also becomes the name of the next chapter. The writing conveys a great sense of atmosphere and is peppered with striking metaphors and similes. The author paints beautiful portraits of each of the many supporting characters, showing us their flaws, foibles, and eccentricities. There's the slow and infirm Ilse; Martin, who's desperate to join first the Hitler Youth and later the Luftwaffe; the practical Sara, who serves as a sounding board for her mother, Gabi; Annchen, the Down's Syndrome child of their poetic housekeeper, Jägerlein; and Fraulein Kaminsky's former pupils, the Habsburgs, whose family is in line for the Austrian throne. This is storytelling at its best. The poignant ending with stay with you for a long time to come. One of my favorite lines: "Every scene in the drama of her life plays on that inner stage of hers, and no one gets invited to the show." I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post:
eternalised More than 1 year ago
The Kaminsky Cure is a poignant tale of a half Jewish/half Christian family during Hitler’s reign. Gabi, the mother of the family, was born Jewish but converted to Christianity as a teenager. Her husband, Willibald, is a Lutheran minister who struggles with a certain admiration for Hitler, while on the other hand, he desperately wants to protect his family. Frustrations run high, as Gabi struggles to make sure her children are educated, even if this proves troublesome and they have to hire private tutors who are willing to teach half-Jewish children. One of these tutors is Fraulein Kaminsky, who teaches Gabi “The Kaminsky Cure” to control her rage. I enjoyed the complexity of the characters. The book is very character driven, and I thought in particular Gabi and Willibald were very interesting. Willibald’s struggle between his Aryan beliefs and his family, who he loves and hates at the same time, felt very realistic. Gabi is a very brave woman, willing to defy and stand up for her children. The story is told from the POV of the youngest son, which is a refreshing change, and allows for an interesting perspective. Historical fiction fans, particular those with an interest in the World War II era, I highly recommend you take a look at The Kaminsky Cure. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.