Excerpt from:
Memories of a Mischling; Becoming an American

 
Excerpts from German Reviews of Das gab's nur einmal, (Memories of a Mischling translated.) From literature.de Das Literaturportal Nurnberg 20 July 2007 Das gab's nur einmal, Verloren zwischen Berlin und New York Review by Claudine Borries

The title of this book by Marianne Gilbert is based on one of her father's hit songs.
...A light and unburdened spirit wafts throughout the entire book.
...She writes in a bright and cheerful tone, is often amused, sometimes sad, but in her innermost heart she is a happy person. This inner balance gives a pleasant effect to the story. One seldom reads about the condition ofexile in such an unburdened tone.
Aside from the personal coming ofage story remembered in a conversational style, the 1920s are once again conjured up, though they were long past, since with the emigration came a new time for everyone.
It is a pleasure to spend time with Marianne Gilbert's life story, which deals unsentimentally with flight, new.beginnings and integration.

 


 


From Der Spiegel, Hamburg
July 30, 2007
...Marianne Gilbert has written her story with wisdom and not without humor, Das gab 's nur einmal. Her book in the American original, however, has a much better and more vivid title, Memories ofa Mischling.
In it, the author, who now teaches at a university program for lifelong learning in the USA, describes her thoroughly divided life. A life between father and mother, "like a pawn caught up in their competitive moves." Marianne existed between Jewish and Christian, and between German and American culture. In every place, as one can read her book, she feels herself more or less at ease, but not at home. From Preussiche Allgemeine Zeitung June 6, 2007

 


 

...The author very vividly describes her family's new start in America where despite the Gilberts' Jewish status, Americans didn't count them as victims, but as she repeatedly demonstrates, counted them among the German perpetrators.
In Das gab's nur einmal, Marianne Gilbert testifies on the one hand to the good fortune ofhaving escaped from National Socialism and on the other, the inner struggle, as the child ofrefugees, notto loseherown identitybetweenthefronts oftwo cultures.

 


 

Allgemeiner Anzeiger, Erfurt May 2, 2007 and May 23, 2007
...Marianne Gilbert Finnegan born half Jewish in Berlin in 1931, emigrated in to New York in 1939. Today she teaches creative writing at a university lifelong learning program in SaratogaSprings,New York. Her parentsreturnedtoEuropeafter theend ofthewar,where Robert began a second career as lyricist for the worldwide hit song, "Oh Mein Papa," and as translator for musicals such as My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly and Annie Gel Your Gun. Elisabeth Gilbert became one ofthe best-known translators from English into German. Das Gab's nur einmal (Memories oja Mischling) is a fascinating true story.

 


 

From OTZ-Osttheringer Zeitung, Lobichau June 30, 2007
The Way toward Becoming American
By Dr. Tatiana Bohme-Mehner
...It is an immigration story and an emigration story as well. After the first fifty or so pages of dryer history, Marianne Gilbert Finnegan's book, Das gab's nur einmal (Memories oj a Mischling) begins a moving story of childhood.
The daughter ofthe Jewish poet and composer Robert Gilbert fled with her parents from the advancing Fascism that threatened Europe. In her book she describes the situation of immigrants to New York and her own path toward becoming an American. The contrast of cultures,theinfluence ofherorigins andself-discovery other identity asa"Mischling,"are shown in very personal descriptions and anecdotes in an original and non-judgmental style.
The chronological story fascinates through the courage to simultaneously use collage. The blending of emotional suspense with social and cultural historical materials is especially convincing in the second part. Above all, though, that is because the story contains a powerful drama. It is a tragic love story that moves us and, beyond the subjective ongoing confrontation of world views, makes this much more than an autobiographical work.

 


 

From Whisper "All the Good Books"
.. .The daughter of Berlin's hit song writer Robert Gilbert and his vivacious wife describes how, as a child in 1939, she experienced the flight through Vienna, Zurich and Paris to New York and soon felt herself to be American while her parents and relatives found it harder to adjust. The fate of German-Jewish immigrants is the background to her own development. The Nazi era and the war are once again examined in this unpretentious, honest autobiography which highlights her youth and first love in the USA. Altogether a lovely, timely and interesting book.Many well-known names appear; the parents were friends of Hannah Arendt and her husband.

 








 

Reviews

From literature.de
Das Literaturportal Nurnberg 20 July 2007 Das gab's nur einmal, Verloren zwischen Berlin und New York
Review by Claudine Borries

The title of this book by Marianne Gilbert is based on one of her father's hit songs.

...A light and unburdened spirit wafts throughout the entire book. ...She writes in a bright and cheerful tone, is often amused, sometimes sad, but in her innermost heart she is a happy person. This inner balance gives a pleasant effect to the story. One seldom reads about the condition of exile in such an unburdened tone. Aside from the personal coming of age story remembered in a conversational style, the 1920s are once again conjured up, though they were long past, since with the emigration came a new time for everyone. It is a pleasure to spend time with Marianne Gilbert's life story, which deals unsentimentally with flight, new.beginnings and integration.

 


 

From Der Spiegel, Hamburg
July 30, 2007

...Marianne Gilbert has written her story with wisdom and not without humor, Das gab 's nur einmal. Her book in the American original, however, has a much better and more vivid title, Memories of a Mischling.

In it, the author, who now teaches at a university program for lifelong learning in the USA, describes her thoroughly divided life. A life between father and mother, "like a pawn caught up in their competitive moves." Marianne existed between Jewish and Christian, and between German and American culture. In every place, as one can read her book, she feels herself more or less at ease, but not at home.

From Preussiche Allgemeine Zeitung June 6, 2007

 


 

 

Contact the Author

Marianne Gilbert Finnegan
Email: mail@mariannefinnegan.com

Marianne Gilbert Finnegan's book is available at: may be ordered from the author, Marianne Gilbert Finnegan by email at: mail@mariannefinnegan.com

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