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BOOK OF THE MONTH
THE ICKABOG
J.K. Rowling
1299

'The Ickabog is coming... A mythical monster, a kingdom in peril, an adventure...(+)

Author Spotlight

Marina is an Anglo-Indian, London-based barrister specialising in constitutional and human rights ...(+)

  Marina Wheeler  
 
 
 
The Spectacle Salesman's Family
Viola Roggenkamp

Classification : General & Literary Fiction
Pub Date : Oct 18, 2007
Imprint : Virago Press Ltd
Page Extent : 416
Binding : HB
ISBN : 9781844084913
Price : 999

About the book
Paul Schiefer is a travelling spectacles salesman. Every Monday morning he leaves Hamburg on a week-long sales trip. His wife, his mother-in-law and his two teenage daughters Fania and Vera see him off with abundant hugs and kisses, and they welcome him back with equal exuberance on Friday evening - just in time for Sabbath eve. While her husband is away, Alma Schiefer defends the wellbeing of her family with an explosive mixture of ferocious love and extreme determination. Thirteen-year-old Fania is torn between the comfort of home and the fearful thrills of the unknown outside world, a sixties world that contains student protest, beehive hairdos, Israel and the Six Day War, politics, religion, revolution and . . . the promise of love.

Sensual, funny and acerbic, The Spectacle Salesman’s Family is a brilliant, vivid portrait of Jewish life in post-Holocaust Germany that continues the Jewish tradition of memorialising, recounting the details in order to hold onto the past and its lessons.

Read Review   Want to write a review?
** 'This is a fine study of a traditional but not orthodox Jewish family, and some of the descriptive writing is exquisite. I would kill for authorship of the following, employed while the heroine is thinking of her mother. "High heels". What a special pair of words. The very epitome of femininity in its most perfect, most desirable and most revered' SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
** 'Roggenkamp's is a lovely narrative, strong in Jewish customs and the political background of the time' FT
** 'In her warm and touching debut novel, Viola Roggenkamp draws us into a family both suffocating and adorable... Roggenkamp's characters are well drawn; the family dynamic amusingly conveyed.' INDEPENDENT
** It's an intimate, rambling story, rich in detail, character and tradition. The tremors and hidden anxieties of adolescence are keenly drawn.' GUARDIAN
** '[A] powerful novel . . . It tells the story of a Jewish family in post-WWII Germany from the point of view of the generation born after the war; every scene is perfectly controlled, every character masterfully drawn - at once sharply delineated yet psychologically complex' DER SPEIGEL
** 'Roggenkamp's is a lovely narrative, strong in Jewish customs and the political background of the time' FT
** 'A powerful and moving book' THE GLOSS
** 'This is a fine study of a traditional but not orthodox Jewish family, and some of the descriptive writing is exquisite. I would kill for authorship of the following, employed while the heroine is thinking of her mother. "High heels". What a special pair of words. The very epitome of femininity in its most perfect, most desirable and most revered' SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
** 'Roggenkamp's is a lovely narrative, strong in Jewish customs and the political background of the time' FT
** 'In her warm and touching debut novel, Viola Roggenkamp draws us into a family both suffocating and adorable... Roggenkamp's characters are well drawn; the family dynamic amusingly conveyed.' INDEPENDENT
** It's an intimate, rambling story, rich in detail, character and tradition. The tremors and hidden anxieties of adolescence are keenly drawn.' GUARDIAN
** '[A] powerful novel . . . It tells the story of a Jewish family in post-WWII Germany from the point of view of the generation born after the war; every scene is perfectly controlled, every character masterfully drawn - at once sharply delineated yet psychologically complex' DER SPEIGEL
** 'A powerful and moving book' THE GLOSS
** ‘Roggenkamp’s is a lovely narrative, strong in Jewish customs and the political background of the time' FT
** 'A powerful and moving book' THE GLOSS
** ‘This is a fine study of a traditional but not orthodox Jewish family, and some of the descriptive writing is exquisite. I would kill for authorship of the following, employed while the heroine is thinking of her mother. "High heels". What a special pair of words. The very epitome of femininity in its most perfect, most desirable and most revered’ SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
** ‘Roggenkamp’s is a lovely narrative, strong in Jewish customs and the political background of the time' FT
** ‘In her warm and touching debut novel, Viola Roggenkamp draws us into a family both suffocating and adorable... Roggenkamp’s characters are well drawn; the family dynamic amusingly conveyed.’ INDEPENDENT
** It’s an intimate, rambling story, rich in detail, character and tradition. The tremors and hidden anxieties of adolescence are keenly drawn.’ GUARDIAN
** ‘[A] powerful novel . . . It tells the story of a Jewish family in post-WWII Germany from the point of view of the generation born after the war; every scene is perfectly controlled, every character masterfully drawn - at once sharply delineated yet psychologically complex’ DER SPEIGEL
     
Viola Roggenkamp
Viola Roggenkamp was the publisher of DIE ZEIT for three decades. This is her debut novel, based on her experiences of growing up half-Jewish in post-war Germany. She has lived in Asia and Israel for...(+)
Books by Viola Roggenkamp
The Spectacle Salesman's Family (PB)