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Jessica Durlacher

The Hero

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.

It’s actually a marvel and certainly a virtue of Durlacher’s writing that all the complicated storylines come together neatly at the end. The hero is no ordinary, unambiguous novel. It’s a war book, a family saga and a thriller’ rolled into one.

NRC Handelsblad

Translations

Jessica Durlacher

Jessica Durlacher (b. 1961), daughter of author G.L. Durlacher, made her debut in 1997 with The Conscience. It was quickly followed by the novels The Daughter (2000) and Emoticon (2004). Durlacher also translated both volumes of Maus by Art Spiegelman, a graphic novel about the persecution of the…

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Details

De held (2010). Fiction, 382 pages.

Publisher

De Bezige Bij

Van Miereveldstraat 1
NL - 1071 DW Amsterdam
Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 305 98 10
Fax: +31 20 305 98 24

E-mail:
info@debezigebij.nl
Website:
http://www.debezigebij.nl

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