Upstairs Room

Upstairs Room

  • Hardback
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Product details

  • Hardback | 138 pages
  • 140 x 220mm
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 1ill.
  • 019271354X
  • 9780192713544

Review Text

As Jewish girls in Holland Mrs. Reiss and her older sister Sini spent more than two years during the German occupation in the upstairs room of a Dutch farmhouse. From the first meeting the girls liked Johan (who used "damn" twice in one sentence), his wife Dientje who had Sini sleep on a mattress on the floor and took Annie into bed with herself and Johan ("I told you we're not fancy people"), and his toothless mother Opoe (who refuses to buy new teeth for the little time she has left) with her repeated "God-o-god-o-god, what a human being doesn't have to go through." Then come the agonies and uncertainties of confinement (Sini desperate without boys or the chance of a suntan, Annie remembering that there was once a war that lasted for 80 years), the adjustments to a home where the only meat is pork and the only book War and Peace (Dientje having borrowed her minister's fattest volume when the girls asked for something to read), the moments of terror when soldiers search the house and the months of special caution when a group of officers operates from headquarters in three downstairs rooms. Then everyone is watching the Canadians enter the town: Opoe out for the first time in 22 years, Sini climbing on the tanks to kiss soldiers, Johan behind her asking "have you cigarets me" - and Annie? "To tell you the truth I don't feel a thing. My hands move up and down." Mrs. Reiss, now an American, recalls it all with pain and humor and evident love for the Oostervelds, whom she and her daughters visited recently (finding Opoe still toothless at 92), and tells it with affecting precision and control. (Kirkus Reviews)show more