The girl with the Leica

by Janeczek, Helena, 1964-

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
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CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Janeczek
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Janeczek
Sewickley Public Library Fiction F JAN
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  F JAN

WINNER The Strega Prize

Gerda Taro was a German-Jewish war photographer, anti-fascist activist, artist and innovator who, together with her partner, the Hungarian Endre Friedmann, was one half of the alias Robert Capa, widely considered to be the twentieth century's greatest war and political photographer. She was killed while documenting the Spanish Civil War and tragically became the first female photojournalist to be killed on a battlefield.

August 1, 1937, Paris. Taro's twenty-seventh birthday, and her funeral. Friedmann, who would henceforth assume the moniker Robert Capa alone, leads the procession. He taught Taro to use a Leica. Together, they left for the Spanish Civil War to bear witness to fascist war crimes. He is devastated, but there are others, equally bereft, in the procession: Ruth Cerf, Taro's old friend from Leipzig with whom she fled to Paris; Willy Chardack, ex-lover; Georg Kuritzkes, another lover and a key figure in the International Brigades. They have all known a different Gerda, and one who is at times radically at odds with the heroic anti-fascist figure who is being mourned by the multitudes.

Gerda Taro is at the heart of this kaleidoscopic novel but another of its main characters is the era itself, the 1930s, with economic depression, the rise of Nazism, hostility towards refugees in France, the century's ideological warfare, the cultural ferment, and the ascendency of photography as the age's quintessential art form.

The Girl with the Leica is a must-read for fans of historical fiction centered on extraordinary women's lives.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Helen Janeczek joins an illustrious group of novelists who have found a deep wellspring for fiction in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), beginning with Ernest Hemingway's eye-witness-inspired For Whom the Bell Tolls, which was published just a year after those who were fighting to save an elected government were defeated by fascist forces under General Francisco Franco, who was allied with Hitler and Mussolini. Hemingway covered the war, along with his third-wife-to-be Martha Gellhorn, and both appear in Beautiful Exiles (2018) by Meg Waite Clayton and Love and Ruin (2018) by Paula McLain. Distinguished Spanish writer Manuel Rivas' pid ID=433995The Carpenter's Pencil (2001) is a deeply inquisitive and moving novel about the war, as are Alan Furst's Midnight in Europe (2014), The Time in Between (2011) by Maria Duenas (translated by Daniel Hahn), and Mary Gordon's There Your Heart Lies (2017). Now Janeczek and Isabel Allende in A Long Petal of the Sea (2019), explore the seismic impact on individual lives of Spain's devastating civil war in novels strikingly divergent in style and focus.Two photojournalists are working in Barcelona in 1936. Both are Jewish exiles. Hungarian André Friedmann and Polish German Gerta Pohorylle adopt noms de guerre. He will make history as Robert Capa; Gerda Taro should be better known. At 27, she became the first woman war photographer to be killed in battle. Rather than tell Gerda's riveting story in a straight-ahead work of biographical fiction, Janeczek has created the exceptionally intricate The Girl with the Leica, translated by Ann Goldstein and winner of the prestigious Strega Prize, in which she portrays Gerda through the eyes of three people who loved her, true-life individuals with extraordinary stories of their own. Willy Chardack, a distinguished doctor living in Buffalo, New York, in 1960, thinks about beautiful, brilliant, willful Gerda as he grapples with his isolation as an immigrant in America during the red scare. His musings set Gerda within a densely detailed rendering of 1930s Germany beset by escalating anti-Semitic terror. In Paris in 1938, a year after Gerda's death, Ruth Cerf remembers her close friend as independence incarnate. And finally Georg Kuritzkes, Gerda's first lover, weighs in from Rome in 1960, illuminating yet more facets of Gerda's brio and daring exploits. Janeczek's demanding, allusion-saturated, multiperspective novel portrays a circle of valiant dissidents and ventures into many spheres, but the focus always swings back to resplendently determined, courageous, and creative Gerda.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Janeczek creatively and seamlessly spotlights war photographer Gerda Pohorylle, known professionally as Gerda Taro, in this fictionalized account of her life. Gerda's short life (1910--1937) is chronicled from the viewpoint of the friends who knew her best; she was half of the alias Robert Capa, the photographer team of Gerda and her lover André Friedmann. While living in Buffalo, doctor Willy Chardack reminisces about Gerda when he receives a call in 1960 from another former lover, Georg Kuritzkes. Willy, known as "the Dachshund," spent time with Gerda in pre-WWII Paris, where he continued his university studies while Gerda learned how to use a camera and supported the antifascist cause. Ruth Cerf highlights her friendship with the effervescent Gerda, who was thrilled as her photography career began to take off in 1930s Paris. Yet tragically, Gerda's quest to rush into danger to photograph military action led to her death during the Spanish Civil War. Kuritzkes also remembers Gerda, the woman he once loved and who challenged him intellectually. Janeczek details the political unrest in pre-WWII Europe while instilling her novel with the indelible mark of Gerda's presence and photographic genius. Fans of historical fiction featuring strong, forward-thinking female characters will be enthralled. (Oct.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Taro, Gerta, -- 1910-1937 -- Fiction.
Capa, Robert, -- 1913-1954 -- Fiction.
Photojournalists -- Europe -- Fiction.
War photographers -- Europe -- Fiction.
Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York, N.Y. :Europa Editions,2019
Other Titles Ragazza con la Leica.
Contributors Goldstein, Ann, 1949- translator.
Language English
In English, translated from the Italian.
Notes Translation of: La ragazza con la Leica.
Description 300 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
ISBN 9781609455477
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