Dear literary citizens of Nación Libro, today it is time to review the very first book already published in 2023! Product of the literary cleverness of our dear friend Armando Lucas Correa, also author of the bestseller The German Girl.
During the days before Nazi Germany, Ally Keller has a steamy affair with a black German boy. The birth of her mixed-race daughter causes tremendous anguish for Ally, who decides to send her out of the country, otherwise the girl would be sterilized, if not annihilated, because of a political regime that sought to make the Aryan race prevail in that nation.
The getaway takes place during one night (hence the title of the book) to avoid apprehension by the Nazi armed forces. The girl, named Lilith, flees with a couple of Jewish origin on board a ship heading to a place that is remote, geographically, and culturally: Cuba.
Growing up, Lilith adopts the local language and customs, but she does not give up her Germanic roots. However, the passage of time brings with it another terrible dilemma: the Cuban revolution, which would depose the Fulgencio Batista regime and put a target to the lives of his followers who would ultimately be exterminated.
History repeats itself because by then Lilith had given birth to a girl whom she would name Nadine. But given her husband’s ties to the ousted government, they would be subject to fierce political persecution. Thus, little Nadine is sent to the United States as part of an operation called Peter Pan. Hundreds of children were expatriated to keep them safe, but on many occasions, they were never reunited with their parents.
Nadine is adopted by an American couple living in New York. Over time, the family moves to Germany and there Nadine’s adoptive mother is tried for her participation in war crimes during World War II.
As an adult, Nadine faces the crossroads of having to inquire about the harsh past of her grandmother and her mother, to whom she directly or indirectly owed the miracle of being alive. It is Luna, Nadine’s daughter, who upon reaching adolescence decides to delve into that past without suspecting that this will dramatically change what she thought she knew about the origin of her family.
Although the tragedy would go hand in hand with the lives of the protagonists, it is undoubtedly a moving story about four generations that were able to intertwine thanks to an immeasurable love, the maternal love. There you go, this is a perfect read if you love historical fiction!
By Ernesto Martinez
President of the Nación Libro