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Nola Theiss
Sound Commentary, June 2009

This novel about the narrator’s mother’s long lost love affair during World War II in Czechoslovakia is told in three parts. The first is the story of the narrator’s childhood, growing up in New York City, upstate New York and Pennsylvania post WWII, in a family that was frequently visited by the past, in the form of Czech émigrés who knew his parents from the past. He senses that his mother, who is sad and detached from her family, had a lover who somehow disappeared in the war, and then she married his father. Then like looking in a three-way mirror, the author shifts the story to his mother’s suicide and his father’s death by cancer and the narrator’s decision to go to Prague and try to discover what happened. The people he meets, like the émigrés of his childhood, tell him stories about his parents’ past. The last mirror reflects an imagined story of his mother’s lover, a young man who was involved in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi in charge of Prague during the war. He and other young men were parachuted in to Czechoslovakia where they plotted the murder of Heydrich,who died of blood poisoning of his wound. The narrator balances the beauty of their love with the horrors of the war and the unhappy marriage of his parents. Glen McCready reads the story with a voice tinged with the sadness of a story that does not, and cannot have a happy ending. He fully articulates and imbues each word with the author’s melancholy.

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