Elisabeth De Waal’s posthumously published novel The Exiles Return (Picador, Jan 2014) seeks an answer to this question. The author, an intelligent Viennese lady from one of the prominent banker families at the turn of the century, escaped to England after Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany in 1938. She is also the grandmother of Edmund de Waal, who recently immortalised her family history in the bestseller The Hare With Amber Eyes (2010).
Elisabeth de Waal’s novel explores the possibilities of an exile’s return to one’s origins: Jewish scientist Kuno Adler returns to Vienna from the U.S., where he finds love while fleeing the confines of his marriage. Will he find a new home in his birthplace? Or is the possibility of home precluded to him forever?
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