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Living the Anschluss

This extraordinary and inventive novel opens with a letter, written at Christmas 1954, from a middle-aged Australian woman resident in Vienna to her much younger half-brother, Roderick Raye, still a schoolboy in suburban Sydney. The writer, who styles herself as Phoebe Raye Krizman, has married an Austrian and has clearly come to identify herself with her husband’s nation, fully aware of the disastrous consequences of its dalliance with Nazism, yet scornful of its treatment by the Great Powers after the First World War, a repression that at least contributed to the bitter circumstances in which political extremism could thrive. Quaintly,…

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