Cover image for The journey from Prague Street
The journey from Prague Street
Demetz, Hanna.
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New York : St. Martin's Press, 1990.
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Publisher's Weekly Review

This slim text, a sequel to the memorable The House on Prague Street , an autobiographical novel of a young girl's experiences in wartime Czechoslovakia, continues to tell of Helene's life. Again related in clear, restrained, understated prose, this is a more mainstream story of a marriage gone bad and a woman's attempt to find a meaningful existence. Helene, orphaned by the Holocaust and conditioned to be stoic, meets Paul in postwar Prague and agrees to marry him despite his philandering. His overt affairs continue throughout a 30-year marriage marked by Helene's passive subjugation to his icy ego and hot temper. Details of their life in war-devastated Eastern Europe and in 1950s America endow the text with evocative power. While Paul builds an academic career at Harvard, Helene lives quietly as a faculty wife, teacher and writer. Paul's decision to leave Helene and their two daughters again tests her skills as a survivor; her life eventually comes full circle in a strange and satisfying way. In choosing to relate the novel with constant changes in points of view, time and setting, Demetz robs her narrative of some coherence. But such is the innate interest of the events she describes that readers will be caught up in an affecting story. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this sequel to The House on Prague Street ( LJ 8/80), Helen Richler (the only member of her large Jewish family to survive the Holocaust) chronicles her life after the war in Prague, Munich, and New York; her motherhood; and her long marriage to a brilliant, self-centered, philandering professor. When he leaves her for a younger woman, Helen picks up the pieces of her life and eventually finds contentment with a caring blind man whose ancestors came from the same region of Czechoslovakia as Helen's family. Written without sentimentality and bitterness in a lean, lucid prose, this fictionalized autobiography does not have the power of Demetz's earlier novel; but some readers will find its understated portrayal of the tenacious and resourceful heroine interesting.-- Marie Bednar, Pennsylvania State Univ. Lib., University Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.