Reunion book by Fred Ullmann is a story set in the heart of World War II. This book narrates the sweetness and bitterness of a friend who is finally waiting for a surprise.
Arthur K کstler, a Hungarian writer, writes of the recovered friend’s book: “But I’m sure this little book will take its place in libraries forever.”
Summary of a recovered friend book
During the turmoil of World War II, when Hitler’s regime was established in Germany, two teenagers from the same school, Hans and Conrad, met. They live seemingly quiet and carefree lives, and everything is fine and quiet. Hans is from a Jewish family and Conrad is from a wealthy and aristocratic family; But after a while, the friendship and acquaintance of these two teenagers gradually weakens due to the conflicts and political and social events of Hitler’s time. Fate determines their separation from each other. What is very shocking and painful in this story is when the final lines of the book end in a surprising way.
In a part of the recovered friend book, we read:
It came into my life in February 1932 and never left it again. More than a quarter of a century, more than nine thousand painful and broken days have passed since then; The days when their inner suffering or hopeless work made them more and more ready; Years and days, some of which were hollower than the rotten leaves of a dry tree.
I remember the day and hour when I first saw a boy who has been my greatest joy and my greatest bewilderment ever since. Three o’clock in the afternoon was a dark winter day in Germany. Two days had passed since my sixteenth birthday. I was at the Karl-Alexander Stuttgart High School, the most famous district in the Württemberg district, founded in 1521; That was the year that Martin Luther confronted Charles V, the server of the “Holy Empire” and the King of Spain.
I remember all the details of that day: the classroom with heavy wooden tables and benches; The pungent smell of forty damp winter coats; Wet stains of melted snow on the ground; The yellow squares on the gray walls were left with images of Kaiser Wilhelm II and King Wuttenberg hanging on the wall before the revolution. I can still close my eyes and visualize the image of my fellow students I saw from behind.
About the Reunion book
Fred Ullmann’s book The Recovered Friend was published in Paris in 1971 and reprinted a few years later with an introduction by Arthur Kessler in 1978. He wrote in the introduction of this book: “This book, in terms of volume, is neither a novel nor a novel; It is a story. It does not have the details and breadth of a novel, but it is not a novel; Because the novel usually represents a corner or a moment in life, while the story is more complete than that and a kind of novel is very small. Fred Ullmann was very successful in writing such a small novel;
“Maybe because, like all painters, he knows how to fit the details of the image he wants to paint into a limited canvas, while writers, unfortunately, have the paper to write as much as they want.” The short novel has 19 chapters and its narrator Hans Schwartz is one of the two friends who now has a talented lawyer and lives in the United States. He begins his narrative in February 1932.
In fact, this novel is the narrative of Hans from the beginning of World War I until Hitler came to power in Germany. In this book, the author has been able to show the war and its effects on people’s lives well with partial and thought-provoking atmospheres. Although the story of the recovered friend is short, the same narrative, though short, can acquaint the reader with the fate of the Jews during World War II. This book has reached its twentieth edition in Iran.
Why read a Reunion book?
A recycled friend book is a novel but short. This book has 67 pages and is a good option for people who want to read a small and at the same time pleasant book or give it as a gift.
– This book beautifully shows not the dimensions of war but the impact of war on human relations.
– The language of the story is simple and fluent and is told in a pleasant tone for the reader.
– The recovered friend, although he talks about suffering and hardships, but there are concepts such as love, friendship, family, homeland and identity in the heart of this story.
About Fred Ullman
German-English writer and painter Fred Ullmann was born on January 19, 1901 in Stuttgart, Germany to a Jewish family. He studied law at the University of Freiburg, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, and the University of Tübingen, and left Germany for Paris in 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany. Ullman made a living selling his paintings in Paris. A skilled artist, he was able to present his first solo exhibition of his work in 1935 in Paris.
Ullman was an unseen man who had traveled to several countries. He had lived in the midst of a war and had seen many things, but in the midst of the misfortunes of his life he had a successful marriage that lasted about 50 years. The novel The Recovered Friend, the sequel to which you will return to Germany, was first published in 1971. When the author was 70 years old. Although many years have passed since the publication of this work, the story and the type of narration have been pleasant for many readers. Fred Ullmann wrote several other books during his life and finally died on April 11, 1985 in London.
About the translator Reunion
Mehdi Sahabi, born in 1323, is one of the well-known translators in Iran. In addition to translating, he has painted, sculpted and photographed. One of the prominent features of Sahabi in the field of translation, selection and introduction of works by authors that are less known among Iranian audiences. “Louis Ferdinand”, “Marcel Proust”, “Italo Calvino” and “Ignacio Silone” are among the writers that Sahabi has introduced to the Iranian literary community.
The nebula is fluent in several living languages of the world, including English, French and Italian. For this reason, many of the works he translated were from the original language. The recovered friend book was first published in 1982 with his translation by New Publishing in Iran. In 2006, the translation of the nebula from this book was published by Mahi Publishing. Most of the books translated by Sahabi do not have other translated versions, and this shows the art and power of this translator in translation.
In another part of the recovered friend book, we read:
“Dear Hans, how difficult it is for me to write this letter. First of all, I have to say how sorry I am for you going to America. For those of you who love Germany so much, starting a new life in America must be very difficult. And I understand your grief over going to a country that you and I have nothing in common with, but that’s probably the wisest thing you could do. Tomorrow’s Germany will be very different from the country you and I knew. It will be a new country, under the command of a man who will determine the fate of us and the whole world in the next few centuries.
You will be surprised to say that I believe in this man. Only he can protect our beloved land from the danger of materialism and Bolshevism. It is only through him that Germany will be able to regain the moral greatness it lost due to its mistakes. I know you do not agree, but I do not know of any other way out for Germany. We have to choose between Stalin and Hitler, and I prefer Hitler. His personality and intimacy have influenced me beyond imagination. “I met my mother recently when I went to Munich.”
According to Arthur Koestler, a Hungarian Jewish journalist and writer, Ullman’s masterpiece is a “recycled friend.” He believes that in this novel, Ullman, like the master painters, knew very well what to put in the story so that he could show the image he wanted. He has created works similar to Mozart’s symphonies. Magnificent, strange with protest, not with anger, but full of calm sadness and full of nostalgia.
1- Introducing the book Reunion on YouTube
2- Introducing the book Reunion in Aparat
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