Thursday, 1 March 2012

Stephen Knight: Mr Schnitzel

Stefan retells his childhood bedtime stories of the Austrian Navy, featuring Count Otto von Otto, Elfrieda the pirate, and the remarkable Herman the Birdman. As he retells them, another story unfolds, that of Stefan's parents.

I was incredibly interested in this story, as it is the family story of an Austrian/English marriage told from the perspective of the bicultural child. I expected the book to be funny and interesting, but was rather disappointed to find out that the Austrian mother suffered severe depressions and alcoholism and so the family life was one on edge all the time. This was not about the culture and the cultural differences, it was about coming to terms with one's parents depressions and alcoholism.

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