Translated by Dr. Jean M. Snook, The Antwerp Testament is Evelyn Grill’s longest book to date and her most complex.
It shows those who were damaged and dislocated by the Second World War rebuilding their lives on two continents. The male protagonist, Ulrich, a German who was seriously wounded in the war, has the misfortune of marrying into a British family that practises psychological warfare.
But the sinister plots devised by humans pale in comparison to the bitter blows dealt by fate.
Rife with irony, replete with doubling, this cleverly constructed novel will occupy your thoughts for a long time after you have finished reading it. Despite dire events, the novel is not devoid of humor.
Grill has fun with it, right down to the leitmotivs: white lilies and yellow roses. The theme of correspondence runs through the novel.
It is the topic of Ulrich’s lengthy doctoral dissertation, and the means through which he keeps in touch with friends and relatives who fled Nazi Germany and settled in Toronto and New York, the means through which their stories continue.
By coincidence, and correspondence, Dr. Snook knew and remained in contact with the man on whom the main character is based for 34 years.
Dr. Snook, who also provides an afterword to the book, is a professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Memorial.
The Antwerp Testament is published by Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.