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A Sea Change by Michael Arditti
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A Sea Change (2006)

by Michael Arditti

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Based on an actual event, the sailing of the SS St Louis from Hamburg in 1939 with nearly a thousand Jewish refuges escaping Hitler's Germany, A Sea Change follows one families plight as told by fifteen year old Karl.

Karl is the grandson and heir of a very wealthy prestigious Berlin department store owner. Along with his grandfather Karl sails with his mother (his father has been absent for eight years), his younger sister and an 'adopted' aunt as well as an 'adopted' older sister.

Karl, now in his seventies, recalls the events of the voyage as he records if for the benefit of his own grandchildren. He describes the situation in Germany before their escape and then details the various happenings as they cross the Atlantic to Havana, the difficulties they encounter on arrival and the subsequent events. Along the way Karl learns much about his own family, has one or two run-ins with the few Nazis assigned to the crew, befriends the sympathetic ship's captain, and experiences his first real love in the form of the beautiful young Johanna.

A sea change is a most engaging account at times moving and tragic, and with plenty of drama. Karl is a likeable boy verging on young manhood, prone to the errors of impetuous youth, he learns quickly and proves himself worthy. The writing is impeccable, the prose flows with such beauty and ease that it is a joy to read. ( )
  presto | Sep 21, 2012 |
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