“The first time I met Otto,” Madame Vidal said to me, “was in April 1935 – a day when, from the early morning to late evening, the most delightful spring rain fell over Königsberg; a gentle, refreshing rain that washed the streets clean, the grounds of Sternengarten got steam and within a few hours the trees had unfurled their light green little leaves.” This is where the author Carola Hansson lets her story begin.
In the summer of 1939, sixty Jewish youths from Germany arrive at a farm outside Falun in Sweden. Here they will learn farming, to reach the goals of their dreams, a kibbutz in the future of Israel. But the war breaks out and they remain in Sweden.
With her low-key suggestive language, she slowly brings to life how how their lives are gradually being wiped out by the Nazi terror. Still, from studies and eager conversations around Zionism’s ideas, a fragile faith for the future grows – a belief they struggle to preserve even in the vulnerability of exile.
This novel will be released in August 2020.