Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: The Oriental Wife

Louisa, Rolf, and Otto grow up as childhood friends in Germany. With Hitler's rise to power these Jewish children scatter: Rolf and Otto to America, and Louisa to Switzerland and England. Louisa is desperately seeking companionship, particularly male companionship, and she has a habit of attaching herself to men as the needy girlfriend.

When Louisa makes her way to New York she begins a relationship with Rolf, who has always been obsessed with his childhood friend. A seemingly needy Louisa suits Rolf just fine, but a health issue soon after their marriage leaves Louisa in a different state entirely. The book proceeds to examine how their marriage evolves. Character weaknesses come into full relief.

I found this book to be uneven. There were two things happening in the book which didn't seem to fit together. Louisa being a submissive wife was not all that closely tied to the accident and its aftermath. I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second. I also found the treatment of Nazi Germany to be uneven. It sometimes seemed incidental, even to characters who were trying to get family members out in the shadow of death camps.

Evelyn Toynton, The Oriental Wife (Other Press, 2011) ISBN: 1590514416

No comments: