24 May 2012

Forgotten Book: KINDERGARTEN, Peter Rushforth

For many of my contributions this year to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books  I am focussing on the books I read 20 years ago in 1992. By then my reading diet was almost exclusively crime fiction.

KINDERGARTEN was published in 1979. I read it just 20 years ago, in May 1992.

Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

In a moving retelling of Hansel and Gretel, a woman is murdered during a terrorist attack, leaving her three sons into the care of their grandmother, Lilli. As the four prepare to celebrate Christmas without her, they are drawn into a rich, resonant world of memory, where Lilli must confront the horrors of the Nazi persecution she managed to survive. After losing her entire family in the Holocaust, it is this final death - that of her daughter - that allows Lilli to finally live again. By reaching out to a new generation, sharing with them her artistic vision of everyone she loved, she is able to forge a shared path toward peace and reconciliation.

There's some interesting background about what brought Peter Rushforth, an English teacher, to write the novel. He apparently discovered a cache of pre-war letters from Jewish parents pleading for their children's safe passage. (see Wikipedia). In Britain the book won the Hawthornden Prize, the oldest literary award in the UK. However Rushforth did not write another book until 2002, and then died in 2005, a comparatively young man.


Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I read Peter Rushforth's next novel, Pinkerton's Sister in 2005/6 and I was intrigued by it. It was by searching for information about it and him that I came across book blogs. It was 2 years later that I began my own book blog and so I think it's all down to him that I have my blog.

I have the book he wrote just before he died - A Dead Language. It's not as easy to read as Pinkerton's Sister - that's not an easy read either, but I loved it for all its literary allusions.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - What an interesting story! And it sounds, at the same time, a sad story, too. I'd heard of Rushford but not read this one. Thanks for letting us know about it.


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