Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Einstein Girl by Philip Sington


DATE READ: February 2011

NOTES: In pre-war Germany a young girl is found barely alive near Potsdam. She seems to have no memory and the only clue as to her identity is a handbill advertising a lecture by Einstein. Einstein has a summer house in the locality so there is a possibility that she was on her way there. The police are baffled and the press interested and soon she is named in the newspapers as the Einstein Girl.

Martin Kirsch is a sympathetic psychiatrist (who has coincidentally seen her before her accident) and is fascinated by her case and she enters his hospital for treatment. Strong links with Einstein emerge – but as we are in a world of insanity it is hard to know the truth from dreams. Even Martin has problems with reality as his latent syphilis moves into a dangerous stage.

The Einstein Girl is very good on describing the prevailing atmosphere of inter-war Europe. The emergence of the Nazis as a political force is well told – as are the subtle shifts in the requirements of the medical staff to collaborate with the authorities.

This was an intriguing read – quite challenging in parts. It was advertised as a thriller but it was not really part of that genre. It was not a “whodunit” – more of a “what’s going on?”

Classy and intelligent.

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