House of Childhood
  • Published:
    Aug-2006 (Hardcover)
  • Formats:
    Print
  • Rating:
  • Pages:
    304
  • Purchase:



"One of the most important novels of contemporary Austrian literature."—Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Max Berman, a successful but rootless New York restoration architect, socialite, and ladies' man, remembers his childhood home in the small Austrian town of "H," mostly through his mother‚'s cherished photographs and vivid stories. When she dies, still longing for the house she fled with her husband and young children in 1928, Max temporarily abandons his playboy lifestyle and travels to H, determined to reclaim the confiscated house.

In H, Max encounters Nadja, a young woman convinced that her late mother was Jewish and that the local synagogue will provide the sense of community she lacks. Recognizing that she is too talented for her provincial neighbors, he arranges for her to attend college in the U.S., where she becomes the most significant of his many lovers. He also befriends Arthur Spitzer, a Holocaust survivor and the leader of H's dwindling Jewish community, who helps him regain legal control of his mother's house. When, years later, the last of his tenants finally moves out, Max returns to investigate his family's ties in H for a fateful year that challenges his restlessness and seems to offer the chance for real belonging.

Acclaimed Austrian writer Anna Mitgutsch's novel is a powerful examination of the meaning of home—in a place, a community, a relationship—and the difficulty of finding one in our tumultuous world.
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