Doitscha – A Jewish Mother Tells All

English sample translation available

Being German is not easy, Adriana Altaras knows, especially not for a Jewish family… David, her son and at the height of puberty, wishes he were Israeli. At the dinner table, he often grunts “Ey, Doitscha” (“Ey, German”) at his Westphalian father, which inevitably leads to a family skirmish.

But when she was her son’s age, she and her childhood friend Aaron, David’s godfather, wanted to emigrate to Israel, too. It was just as much of a temptation for them as Hawaii is for surfers. But they stayed behind, taking advantage of the guilty conscience of the Germans to ride the train for free or to get a day off from school. When Aaron dies, the generational conflict in the Altaras family comes to a head. Nothing can keep David in Berlin, so he takes off unceremoniously for the Promised Land – with the narrator in tow, searching for her lost son from the Western Wall, to the kibbutz and the Sea of Galilee.

In Titos Brille (“Tito’s Glasses”), loved by readers and acclaimed by the press, the author turned her attention to the history of her ancestors. With passion, strength and humor, she now writes from the heart of contemporary Jewish life in Germany. She writes about the tragicomic identity and religious conflicts that ignite over a cracked salad bowl, about unconventional commemorative speeches, inheritance and bequests. And that’s not all: The whole family gets a chance to speak, the whole chaotic lot of them.

A smart, fascinating and polyphonic portrait of contemporary Jewish-German life and an unforgettable book about family with all its comforts and craziness.

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Croatia: Mozaik

  • Publisher: Kiepenheuer&Witsch
  • Release: 06.11.2014
  • 272 pages
  • ISBN: 978-3-462-04709-7
Martin Walz

Adriana Altaras

Adriana Altaras was born in Zagreb in 1960. From 1964, she lived in Italy before subsequently moving to Germany. She studied acting in Berlin and New York, acted in film and television productions and has been directing at theaters and opera houses since the 1990s. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the German Film Award and Silver Bear for acting

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