A REUNION IN THE KINGDOM OF THE SOUL
I recently read the novel called "Reunion" by Fred Uhlman, a story about the vital cycle of a friendship that is embodied in the experience of two sixteen-year old guys during the previous years of the world war II and then.
The novel is an existential response to these problems: How to continue giving support to a friendship against the social and historical trend, when both parts embody such irreconciliable interests like the ones that there were between Germans and Jewishes, in the times of Nazism? How to keep one's loyalty to a friend when the society does not permit and explicitly forbides and attacks such a relationship "ad maiorem Dei gloriam."
The main characters are the Jew Hans Schwartz, son of a well known physician, and Count Konradin von Hohenfels, a member of one of the oldest and richest German families. They both met when attending the same school, the Karl Alexander Gymnasiun from Sttuart, Germany, during the senior class.
Given the problem, Konradin decided to sacrifice the personal meaningful key to the social significant one. He enrolled to the army pro Nazism. So both friends drifted apart. Hans traveled to the U.S. and Konradin stayed in Germany. However, when realizing what the real intentions and facts of Hitler were, Konradin decided to kill the tyrant. His conspiracy was unfortunately unsuccessful and he not surprisingly was assassinated.
By forty years or so, the Konradin's drama had been ignored by the resentful Schwartz. Though, when he took knowledge of the facts, it was a sort of reunion in the kingdom of the soul, the top experience of the recovery of a long, long and lost friendship.
In this story, my favorite character is Hans Schwartz. What I appreciate on him is both, the efforts he did in order to become the best friend of Konradin and his lonely fight to keep his friendship against the society, in spite of his inner suffering and doubts.
I liked the book very much. The mastery of the author to stamp a nostalgic tone in the words and show the feelings of the characters according to the situations is outstanding.
I would recommend the story to teenagers in general because this period of life is when friendship sense is built and most appreciated. In my opinion, this novel will teach young people to be more understanding when judging the behavior of a friend in any stage of the cycle: establishment - deepening - disenchantment - breaking off and/or recovery.