Between Two Seasons of Happiness

Irene Dische

Peter lives with his grandfather in Hungary. Grandfather is a stern individual who believes life must be lived by the rules. Laszlo, Peter's father, is the exact opposite, a juggler and man about town who scoffs at danger and says of himself, "I'm a lucky devil." And off he goes as a diplomat to Berlin, capital of Nazi Germany. When Peter comes to stay with him, Laszlo takes him to parties, film palaces and even to a dance hall frequented by political celebrities.

The child sees only the glittering facade that masks the imminent threat. Peter does not even know he is a Jew. He would love to see a long-nosed Jew like the one his teacher draws on the blackboard. In the "Crystal Night", which Peter at first misinterprets as a great birthday celebration for their housekeeper Thea, his father reveals a shred of the truth to him. When the illusion can be maintained no longer, Laszlo sends Peter back to Hungary, promising to write a letter every week. From now on, week after week Laszlo's dispatches brighten up Peter's life with news of the magical world revealed to him in Berlin. The only snag is that these reports are all but illegible so Peter must ask Grandfather to read them to him – until, that is, typewritten letters begin to arrive. Peter fails to notice slight changes in tone. Weeks later, when he enters grandfather's study without permission, he discovers the truth. Laszlo, his father, is dead. It is Grandfather who types the letters. Now Peter fears he cannot unravel the web of lies. Didn't grandfather tell him not to enter his study? The letters continue to appear, and only the old man's death, shortly before the German invasion, puts an end to the multiple deception.

Irene Dische's moving book tells of the great, unspoken love between three generations.

Foreign Sales

Italy (Loescher; Feltrinelli), Spain (SM), UK (Bloomsbury), Israel (Kinneret), France (L'École des Loisirs), Denmark (CDR), Korea (Woongjin Thinkbig); Japan (Protestant Publishing)

Between Two Seasons of Happiness

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