Are Some Crimes Unforgivable? Without
Forgiveness, Can There be Reconciliation?
These challenging questions are posed by John Menkes in his new novel, After the Tempest. Viennese-born Menkes, a survivor of the Holocaust, returned to his former home after the war, with the hope of regaining his identity. Unfortunately, he found that history had robbed him not only of his youth and his family, but of his national identity and his home as well. He returned to the United States and got on with his life, but he never forgot what heand so manyhad lost.
Now, after a long and successful dual career as a renowned neurologist and playwright, Menkes has used fiction to explore how both perpetrators and victims deal with their memories.
In After the Tempest, Anton, a young Nazi, and Judith, his childhood comrade, are separated by the events of the 1930s. Like John Menkes, Judith escapes Vienna in time to survive, and she returns after Hitlers defeat. She gets in touch with Anton, and they are reunited by a desire to move beyond history and by their need to fulfill their love. The novel goes back and forth between the years leading up to the war, a time when Austrian anti-Semitism flowered, and the years of Austrias recovery after the war. But even though the love Judith feels for Anton is real and physical, can she forgive him for consigning her parents to the death chambers of Auschwitz? And even if Austria recovers her economy, is there any chance of recovering her soul?
John Menkes is a neurologist who deals with diseases of the nervous system that affect infants, children, and adolescents. He is an internationally noted authority in this field, and his best-selling Textbook of Child Neurology is now in its sixth edition. He is also a produced playwright, and After the Tempest is his second novel. He lives in Los Angeles, California and Wales.