Good Reading : September 2017
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING SEPTEMBER 2017 18 O ral stories have always swirled around my family – particularly from my grandmother – so my love of stories must have started there. When my grandmother migrated to Australia in the 1950s with her husband and children, she brought with her a strong sense of cultural identity, which she instilled in my mother and me. Important occasions were always celebrated with traditional German food, family and friends. I grew up watching my grandmother and mother cooking tortes for Sunday afternoon tea, birthdays, christenings and anything else that was worth celebrating. My favourites were the Black Forest Torte, my grandmother’s apple cake and her poppyseed cake. I loved listening to the stories – that were often recounted in the kitchen – of my mother’s and grandmother’s younger days. My grandmother often spoke about her mother and her family, the social standing they had held in Germany and where they had come from. She was very proud of her family heritage and was determined to carry on the values and etiquette that had been instilled in her. When I was at school, I had to create a family tree. My grandmother told me about my ancestors, going back a number of generations. I knew she had some information about them, but it wasn’t until she passed away two years ago that we realised the extent of information – letters, documents and memorabilia – that she had kept on her family and their lives in Germany. I am forever grateful that she kept it all, as it has enabled me to understand my heritage more deeply and get a real sense of her and my grandfather’s early lives. The first novel of TANIA BLANCHARD follows the life of the patriotic and privileged Charlotte von Klein as she works to support the war effort in Germany. But Charlotte’s world comes crashing down when she has to navigate her way through the chaotic aftermath of Germany’s fall to Allied forces. Tania tells us about her family’s cultural heritage, which inspired her to write The Girl from Munich. BEHIND THE BOOK 1 Demystifying death Germans Ordinary The ordinary civilian’s story hasn’t been told as often, particularly from the German point of view.