Sue Bevan, Deputy Chair of ACG, reviews fellow graduate Diana Finley’s (MA Creative Writing, 2011) debut novel.
The Loneliness of Survival
Genre: 20th century historical fiction
Published: 2014 (Indigo Dreams Publishing)
This is Diana Finley’s first adult novel. The book begins with Anna Lawrence, surrounded by her family, celebrating her 100th birthday in 2014. It then flashes back, providing the reader with insights into her struggles through a long and eventful life and the individuals who played an important part in it.
Anna is an Austrian Jewish woman who is forced to flee from Vienna to Palestine with her husband during the build up to WWII.Subsequently, after spending time in England, she finds herself in Germany as a forces wife and mother when the war is over. Later she settles with her family in England but family ties take her to the United States from time to time.
At the end of the book Anna ponders the twists and turns of life and the passage of time. She questions why she alone survives when her contemporaries are long gone. Then, appreciating how lucky she is to have her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she realises that she is not alone. The book is well written and is a very moving fictional account of a woman’s life defined by the devastating real life events in Europe in the mid-20th century, reminding the reader of the human miseries that result from the pursuit of racist ideologies and the strength of people to triumph over prejudice and persecution.
Reviewed by Sue Bevan
BSc Hons. Zoology 1979
published on: 22 October 2015