The Clothes On Their Backs: A Novel

by Linda Grant | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 143914236x Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingwaterfallingwing of Rockledge, Florida USA on 9/22/2013
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingwaterfallingwing from Rockledge, Florida USA on Sunday, September 22, 2013
trade-size paperback.

from the back cover:
Vivien Kovacs, sensitive and bookish, grows up sealed off from the world by her timid Hungarian refugee parents. She loses herself in books and reinvents herself according to her favorite characters, but it is through clothes that she ultimately defines herself.

Against her father's wishes, she forges a relationship with her estranged uncle, a notorious criminal, who, in his old age, wants to share his life story. As he reveals the truth about her family's past Vivien, having endured unbearable loss, leans how to be comfortable in her own skin and how to be alive in the world.

Journal Entry 2 by wingwaterfallingwing at Raleigh, North Carolina USA on Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Released 10 yrs ago (11/19/2013 UTC) at Raleigh, North Carolina USA


Sent as requested for the Gen Lit VBB.

Journal Entry 3 by BooksandMusic at Seattle, Washington USA on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Received and thank you!

Journal Entry 4 by BooksandMusic at Spokane, Washington USA on Friday, April 21, 2023

The immigrant experience after WWII, here the immigrants are from Hungary and are secular Jews. There are two brothers, one of whom escaped most of the experience of the war, the other brother who was not able to leave until after the war. Brother one arrives in England with his wife and they move into an apartment. They have a baby girl and are extremely protective. Basically they never leave the apartment, the building's interior is their world. Their daughter has a wider world as she goes to school. Her education is the paramount importance of her parents. They see education as her ticket to success, as many parents do. The daughter thinks her parents are her only relatives but one day a man shows up at the apartment door and tries to give her chocolate. Her father and the stranger get into a loud argument, the stranger is not welcomed and warned never to come again. No explanation is offered to the daughter. Years pass, history happens. One of the things that happens is that a slum landlord is in the news for his crimes, is prosecuted and goes to jail. It is the man who had come to the door.
I'm just telling you the whole story here, better slow down so people can read it for themselves.
I thought it was a good story. The characters are stereotypes, but well drawn. I married into a family of Jewish immigrants so I felt like I recognized these characters and I felt great compassion for all of them, not as victims but as human beings going through a life that tries to break them. This world tries to break us all but if you are familiar with immigrants of a particular time and ethnicity, well then the story kind of puts pressure on your heart. I can't really tell you more although I am leaving out a LOT of the story. You will have to read it if you want to know more.

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