The Empire of the Senses

The Empire of the Senses

Alexis Landau

Historical / Historical Fiction / Fiction

A sweeping, gorgeously written debut: a novel of duty to family and country, the dictates of passion, and blood ties unraveling in the charged political climate of Berlin between the world wars. Lev Perlmutter, an assimilated, cultured German Jew, enlists to fight in World War I, leaving behind his gentile wife, Josephine, and their children, Franz and Vicki. Moving between Lev's and Josephine's points of view, the first part of the novel focuses on Lev's experiences on the Eastern Front--both in war and in love--which render his life at home a pale aftermath by comparison. The second part of the novel takes us to Berlin, 1927--28. Now young adults, the Perlmutter children grapple with their own questions: Franz, drawn into the Nazi brown shirt movement, struggles with his unexpressed homosexuality; Vicki, seduced by the Jazz Age and everything new, bobs her hair and falls in love with a young man who wants to take her to Palestine. Unlike many...
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