Friday, October 14, 2011

The Day Before Happiness-Erri DeLuca and Michael Moore (Translator)

The Day Before Happiness

Erri DeLuca and Michael Moore (Translator)

Other Press, Nov 1 2011, $16.95

ISBN: 9781590514818

During the war, Naples building super Don Gaetano befriends a boy. When the lad errantly kicks his soccer ball, he climbs a drainpipe to retrieve it. There he sees Anna a Jewish girl inside a room hidden from view except his lofty position.

Residents of Naples want to move on now that WWII is over although signs of the combat and atrocities are everywhere. The orphaned youngster realizes his mentor Don, who was in danger of Fascist execution during the war, hid a Jewish child there. He hopes his Anna will return soon. When she does, he knows she is his love, but though they share a heavenly tryst, she has a gangster boyfriend and lost her mind as her madness comes from her years of concealment.

The Day Before Happiness is not an easy read though it is a well written late 1940s historical thriller. The story line is character driven by four people and with a nod to The Diary of Anne Frank, Erri DeLuca captures the battered soul of a people, a country and a continent struggling to deal with turning blind during the Holocaust.

Harriet Klausner

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