Page 123 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 123

 Earth and High Heaven
A love story in the Romeo and Juliet tradition, this 1944 novel is unusual in that a (relatively) happy ending is implicit in the first sentence: ‘One of the questions they were sometimes asked was where and how they had met, for Marc Reiser was a Jew, originally from a small town in northern Ontario, and from 1933 until he went overseas in September 1942, a junior partner in the law firm of Maresch and Aaronson in Montreal, and Erica Drake was a Gentile, one of the Westmount Drakes.’ Like Mariana by Monica Dickens, PB No. 2, which came out in the first year of the war so that there is a question-mark over the end, in the same way the first readers of this bestselling novel would have been all too aware that the war was far from over. But, as important, was whether the prejudice and hostility of Erica’s father, and of Montreal society, would put a stop to their love affair, and whether Canadians would ever change their attitudes. For this is a shocking book, reminding one that there were states in the American South where black people could not marry white and buses where black people had to sit at the back and offices where black women had to use different ladies’ rooms (as in the film Hidden Figures); and in Canada there were numerous aspects of everyday life forbidden to Jews.
‘Bugs in Booby Traps’, a 1947 textile designed in Detroit by Ruth Adler-Schnee (b. Frankfurt 1923).
Gwethalyn Graham
 NO 122
280pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781910263129

   121   122   123   124   125