Friday, July 24, 2009
Suzanne Brøgger’s THE JADE CAT in Publishers Weekly
Suzanne Brøgger's acclaimed novel The Jade Cat is reviewed in Publishers Weekly: "Brøgger’s lively and insightful novel chronicles the fates of the Jewish Løvin family as they endure the tragicomic events of the 20th century and adhere to patriarch Max’s injunction: “Thou shalt be a personality.” Forging an identity, however, becomes complicated when the family is torn apart by war and forced to abandon its religious identity and nationality. Although the novel expands its breadth by including anecdotes about even the most minor players, the narrative’s emphasis is on three generations of women—strong-willed Katze; her daughter, Li, who comes of age during WWII; and Li’s eldest daughter Zeste. Hypocrisy, particularly with regard to gender-appropriate sexual conduct, is a major issue for all three, though each fares badly in the battle of the sexes. Attitudes toward Jewish identity—animosity, denial, ambivalence—also provide a common link among the stories. Brøgger offers readers a powerful, personal account of rapidly changing times through the lens of a family whose comedies, tragedies and absurdities are magnified by historical context and whose contemporary descendants provide a glimpse of a more hopeful future."