The Age of Wonders
Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.
A sensitive lad on the threshold of adolescence tries to understand his rapidly changing world. Bruno’s are not merely the usual “who and what am I” dilemmas of youth, for he is the only child of a successful Austrian-Jewish writer, and the time is just before World War II, the very brink of the abyss.
Clouds of ill-defined menace already seem to fill the air. His father’s success turns to ashes in the new climate of racist persecution, and the man angrily denounces the Jews and his own Jewishness in his despair. The scars of this terrible time are deep, and prove unhealing.
Thirty years later, Bruno returns to the home of his childhood, hoping that perhaps now, as a man, he will be able to bring into some kind of focus the kaleidoscopic shards of his ruined childhood. This delicately written novel gives a moving and effective suggestion of the pain and bewilderment of the young Bruno, and of the sad wisdom of Bruno grown older.