Two emotionally fraught and complex themes collide in this powerful, moving novel: Alzheimer’s disease and the psychological aftermath for survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The story chronicles the intellectual decline of Renzo, a once-brilliant Roman writer and filmmaker. Aware that he is slipping ever deeper into the haze of Alzheimer’s, Renzo keeps a journal in which he grapples with his complicated marriage to Hannah, an Auschwitz survivor who later chronicled that experience. As he writes about his own failing grip on reality, he reflects as well on how painful it will be for Hannah to lose another loved one. Author Brenda Webster brings her considerable knowledge of Jewish and Italian history to bear in creating a fully-realized story, by turns poignant and humorous, about an enduring love that makes pain bearable. Her brilliant use of an unreliable narrator features highly lyrical passages that elucidate for the reader both Renzo’s sophisticated anguish and his childlike wonder as his rich memories of the artistic and intellectual currents of the 20th century and his own creative life begin to fade.
Fiction & LiteratureHealth & WellnessAlzheimer’s & DementiaLiterary FictionContemporary FictionDiseases