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Patient Number 7 by Kurt Palka
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Patient Number 7 (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Kurt Palka

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312,001,085 (4.25)11
Member:vancouverdeb
Title:Patient Number 7
Authors:Kurt Palka
Info:McClelland & Stewart (2012), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Austria, WW11, fiction, Canadian author, Nazi Party, Vienna, historical fiction

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Patient Number 7 by Kurt Palka (2012)

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Patient Number 7 is a fascinating glimpse into Austria, pre, post and during World War 11. Author Kurt Palka was born and educated in Austria, and relied on memoirs, personal interviews,letters and his own family history to write this compelling work of fiction. The story was all the more interesting, knowing it was largely based on reality.

The story is told from Clara Herzog's perspective. She is a young, aristocratic woman , attending the University of Vienna in the early 1930's. She is an involved and bright young student, exposed to great thinkers, such a Freud, and and philosopher's Hiedigger and Wigggenstein. It is also a time of political unrest and Clara attends political speeches on National Socialism ( the Nazi's ), Capitalism , Zionism, Existentialism - in her words " Fascinating doors that lured you in and then snapped back shut behind you , and there could never be going back, ever." p.17

Despite her parent's cautions, young Clara falls in love with Albert, a young Austrian Calvary member. When Albert's younger brother, Theodor, is killed because he supported the Nazi's, Albert joins the Panzers. He does this in part to honour his younger brother's beliefs and partially because he is compelled to do so by outside forces.

Clara ends up living on a Nazi base camp, mainly on her own, with her young children, Willa and Emma. Neither Clara nor her husband Albert fully support the Nazi's, and Clara remains good friends with those who are anti -Nazi. Many horrors ensue, but Clara draws upon her own strength to endure. Clara even risks her life as does her husband in acts of heroism .

Truly an enlightening read, as we see the other side of WW 11. We are also witness to the the rather inhumane process of De-Nazification as per the Allied Forces. A thought -provoking and sympathetic look into "the other side" of WW11 - and very human too.

4.5 stars. ( )
3 vote vancouverdeb | Apr 28, 2012 |
Patient Number 7is a compelling story about World War II told from a uniquely Austrian point of view. It provides a discerning look at the Viennese and how they coped during the volatile periods during the 1930s, ’40s — and post-war years.

Canadian author Kurt Palka, who grew up in Austria, has over the years collected stories from people....Palka’s book contains wisdom and elegance. He is a literary tour guide taking us into a post-Habsburg culture we could not access on our own. Clara, despite her dazzling intellectualism, is really an Everywoman who has to figure out how to endure life’s vicissitudes while searching for elements of joy. We are with her all the way.
 
IN much the same way as Carol Shields did for Daisy Goodwill Flett in The Stone Diaries, Kurt Palka gives dignity to a life lived in his creation of Clara Herzog, an aristocratic Austrian who falls in love just as her country is swirled into the vortex of events culminating in the Second World War.

Told from Clara's perspective, this understated and compassionate historical novel is based on years of interviews as well as family documents....rom there the story gathers unstoppable momentum. As for the title, its meaning won't become clear until almost the last page.

Patient Number 7 deals with some of the big themes in literature. But its lasting impression is that of a woman whose life mattered.
 
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" The important thing, Madame, is not to be cured, but to live with one's ailments."
-Abbe Ferdinado Galiani ( 728-1787)
to Mme Louse d 'Epinay (1726-1783)
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For Heather
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The day she buried her husband, nearly a hundred mourners filled the Benedictine Chapel.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0771071310, Hardcover)

Inspired by a true story and based on a wealth of family documents, this elegant and compelling novel chronicles the lives of two families from the 1930s through the coming of the Nazis and World War II, and the long, difficult post-War period to the present. A must-read for fans of Irene Nemirovsky, Hans Fallada, and Bernhard Schlink's The Reader.
 
This vividly realized, masterfully executed novel is a window into a little-explored corner of history. Patient Number 7 is a story of love between an aristocratic young woman and the cavalry officer -- later Panzer officer in the German army -- she marries; between friends who help each other through the Nazi takeover of Austria, the war, and what was sometimes worse, the "liberation"; between a mother and her two very different daughters. But it is also the story of a nation's darkest days, and its slow recovery during one of the most convulsive, violent periods of human history. Beautifully written, haunting, and ultimately redemptive, it is a work of great skill and great compassion.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:16 -0400)

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