In 1939 the influential architect Berthold Lubetkin abruptly left his thriving career in London and dropped out of sight, moving with his wife to a desolate farm in rural Gloucestershire. Life in the house the Lubetkins named "World's End" was far from idyllic for their three children. Louise Kehoe and her siblings lived in an atmosphere of oppressive isolation, while their tyrannical father--at times charming and witty but usually a terrorist in a
self-styled Stalinist hell--badgered and belittled them during his fits of self-loathing. Even his true identity remained an enigma. That secret was never divulged during her father's lifetime, but Louise's quest to unearth its tragic origins--her relentless piecing together of the clues she found after his death--is a remarkable story, written with extraordinary grace, style, and imagination, of an identity and a heritage lost and found.
In 1940, Kehoe's father, Berthold Lubetkin, a renowned Russian-born architect, abruptly abandoned his London career and retreated with his wife and three children to a remote farm in southwestern England called World's End. In this riveting memoir, Kehoe, a journalist in Massachusetts, describes the nightmare world she, her older sister and her younger brother inhabited as children. Cut off from the rest of the world, they were at the mercy of an abusive and tyrannical father who forbade them to come into contact with other children and mercilessly undermined any abilities they possessed or opinions they expressed. Although Kehoe's mother loved her children, she adored her husband and appeased him at their expense. A militant communist and atheist, Lubetkin forced his views on his family, which further alienated Kehoe from her schoolmates. After his death she discovered that her father had concealed his Jewish ancestry from everyone but his wife (who was a Christian) and was haunted by the deaths of his parents during the Holocaust. Kehoe is now a practicing Jew. An extraordinary, well-told story of a brutal childhood.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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August 06, 2001
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