An engrossing family saga
The central character in Jessica Durlacher’s novel The Hero is Sara Silverstein, married with two children and a journalist by profession. When Sara’s father dies, several apparently inexplicable, catastrophic events follow. It then emerges that all the misfortune originates from a single source, the Second World War, when as a young boy Sara’s father lost his parents in the camps and was left to survive on his own. Later Sara’s family meets Raaijmakers, descendant to the traitor of those years. Will either party succeed in breaking loose from the monstrous past?
Sara’s morality was shaped by the post-war peace, so she finds it hard to accept that her son has decided to serve in the US Army. Yet his choice is the family’s salvation. A true hero, calm and mentally resilient, he possesses the courage to make short work of Raaijmakers, the man who has assaulted and intimidated them so viciously.
Durlacher ingeniously weaves together the past and the future. Her style is natural and light; her story develops like a thriller. All this makes her novel a page-turner with depth, a page-turner about families whose legacy is both peace and vengeance.
Jessica Durlacher made her debut a year after her father’s death with the novel The Conscience (1997). From that point on she would be the Durlacher who wrote, although for years every article published about her mentioned her father, G.L. Durlacher (1928-1996), a much loved author who reported on his wartime experiences in commanding prose. It was almost inevitable that she would deal with themes related to his. The story of the second generation is her inheritance, a literary legacy from which there is no escape. This, the all-determining, ineluctable past, is the foundation on which Jessica Durlacher’s novel The Hero stands.