Love and Obsession at the Time of Exile
by Alexander J. Askanas
PageTurner Press and Media

"On the other hand, he felt some relief. It was a strange and tense situation, and now it was over."

Adam and Ula are married with a daughter, Monica. They live in Poland. Adam is a cardiologist, while Ula is a neurologist. They both work in the same hospital. Adam is unhappy due to his wife’s affairs. One day, Adam meets a beautiful young woman named Claire Saler, and they begin an affair. Adam soon learns that Claire has a French fiancé in France, and she is set to marry him over there. With that information in his mind, Adam still does not want to end things with her. Once Claire leaves, Adam is sad and devastated, but they keep in touch through letters. Later, Adam and Ula decide to move to the United States because of the antisemitic climate against Polish Jews. In September 1969, they finally settle in New York. Even though Adam is starting a new life, he cannot get Claire out of his mind.

Askanas dives into Adam’s emotions and inner struggles with deep honesty. For example, the author points out how the growing antisemitic climate affects Adam. The more Polish Jews are persecuted, the more it brings back horrible childhood memories of his time in the Warsaw ghetto. He keeps having awful nightmares that haunt him. The author shows how antisemitism creeps into the professional environment as well. For instance, his character co-authored a book with non-Jews but did not receive a prize as they did for the work. Askanas successfully taps into Adam’s emotional state, illustrating how he wrestles with his emotions. With everything happening in his life, Adam sees Claire as a breath of fresh air, so he misses her presence deeply. Readers will possibly appreciate this novel because the protagonist keeps fighting for what is right for him and takes control of his life.

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