Robert Schindel's Born-Where is a novel about origins, a novel about the wages of history. Its protagonists are contemporary Viennese and German Jews who are the children of those who were killed in the German extermination camps. The uneasy intertwining of their lives with contemporary Germans and Austrians constitutes the panoramic epic that the Viennese author unfolds with keen insight and mordant humor. The protagonist is a concentration-camp survivor, who is summoned back to Vienna to testify at a belated war-crimes trial. In the course of his reluctant return, he meets the past and the present in Austria, making readers aware of how things were and how much of history and of the legacy of racism still lingers on today. This confrontation/assimilation makes for, among other things, an intergenerational, psychological ghost story. Born-Where touches on every aspect of the unresolved and perhaps unresolvable relations between contemporary Germans/Austrians and Jews. One subtheme concerns the Left's resistance to Nazism. Another takes us inside the workings of contemporary Austrian bureaucracy. There are also the invariably impossible romantic relationships between Jews and Germans.
Original title: Gebürtig
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction