Richard Kranz did not have a happy childhood. Born into a wealthy Jewish Viennese family, he had been a bookish, chubby, lonely boy. The family spent summers in the small Austrian village of Thennberg, where they rented the manor house and where thirteen-year-old Richard had his first sexual experience. We meet him eight years later as he is released from a nearby concentration camp, a skeleton of a man, filled with thoughts of his recent experiences, of his overheated teen-age sexual preoccupations, of his colorful family, now all gone, and their pathetic efforts to be accepted in a world where Jews are not welcome. He longs for a homecoming, for some connection to his former summer life at Thennberg. The story takes us to that connection, skillfully moving backward and forward in time, relentlessly pressing toward its tragic conclusion.
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Gyorgy Sebestyen was born in Budapest in 1930, a Hungarian with German as a second mother tongue. While a student of ethnology at the University of Budapest, he worked in the theater and then as editor of a newspaper. He was involved in the uprising of 1956 and left Hungary to live in Austria. After 1960 he wrote in German and published mainly novels and cultural essays. He was editor of two cultural magazines and President of the Austrian P.E.N. Club. Gyorgy Sebestyen died in 1990.
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