Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten.
(Truly, I live in dark times.)
When her mother uttered that line from Bertolt Brecht’s great poem ‘An die Nachgeborenen’, Juliana – the narrator of Elisabeth Holdsworth’s first novel – knew they were in for a hard time. Janna had returned to the Netherlands from Dachau carrying a cardboard suitcase that the Americans had given her. In it was packed the rage that exploded whenever life overwhelmed her. Janna was not only Juliana’s beautiful mother; she was also her deeply damaged antagonist.