Monday, September 21, 2009

The Twins

He groused about Hitler, who had merely been a half-wit at first, but had gradually come to enjoy the status of a dangerous lunatic.

Twin sisters born in Germany are separated at 6 years old after losing first their mother and then their father. Lotte is suspected of having tuberculosis and so, unfit for work at the family farm, is sent to relatives in Holland. Healthy Anna goes to live with her uncle - and becomes the farm's principle laborer.

Enter World War II.

The sisters accidentally find each other when they are in their seventies and visiting a health spa in Belgium. They have had minimal contact with each other since their separation. They spend their time between healing baths telling each other the story of their lives. Each wants to be understood. Anna wants to be accepted. Lotte is not sure she is interested in knowing this brash German woman, let alone accepting her. As a German, she is still "the enemy".

In this way her suicidal urge was driven away rather prosaically with coffee and cake, in order to make room for being merely unhappy.

Harrowing stories of hardship, struggle, loss and pain. And, while I definitely saw the ending coming, I still cried.

I listened to this book on CD and it was fun to hear the dialog with a German accent. An excellent job of reading. (And, a critical help on the great mopping event of 2009!)

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