Find a book

A Book a Month

We can send a book a month for six or twelve months - the perfect gift. More »


by Anna Gmeyner
Persephone book no:

38 39 40

Order This Book

The Far Cry
A Well Full of Leaves
Regular price $36.00
In Stock
$0.00 Unit price per

If you would like to order the Christmas Offer, click here

ISBN 9781903155295

Written in 1936-7 by a young Austrian playwright living in exile in London, Manja opens, radically, with five conception scenes all set on the same night in 1920. In the midst of the turbulent Germany of the Weimar Republic, it goes on, equally dramatically, to describe the lives of the children and their families up until 1933 when the Nazis came to power. The four boys and one girl, Manja, become friends, but their companionship is doomed because of the differences between their parents; one father is a left-wing activist, another a Nazi, another a financier, another a Jewish musician.

Yet Manja is far from being a political novel. Its startling originality lies in the way the the political background is perceived, steadily, from the child's point of view. We have all read about Germany in the 1930s from the historian's angle; there is, however, no novel we know of which sees German life during the period from the end of the First World War until 1933 in quite this clear-sighted way.

'What is so unusual,' wrote the playwright Berthold Viertel in 1938, 'is the way the novel contrasts the children's community - in all its idealism, romanticism, decency and enchantment - with the madhouse community of the adults.' Like The Priory, Manja was first published in English in September 1939: a reader 'spent seven nights totally beguiled and shocked by your clever juxtaposition of the two books.'

The Preface is by the author's daughter, writer Eva Ibbotson; the new translation is by Kate Phillips.

Also available as a Persephone eBook
For more on Manja, have a look at the Persephone Perspective.

The endpaper we have used is a Wiener Werkstätte fabric called 'Paul' designed in 1927 in Vienna by Clara Posnanski; the horizontal black lines give a sinister quality to an otherwise gentle design.

Picture Caption

A street in Frankenthal, Germany in 1933, newly renamed Adolf Hitler Strasse

Read What Readers Say


Based on 3 reviews

Categories: Abroad Childhood History Politics Translations

Back to top