Friday, June 24, 2016
She's mean to all her servants- a forgotten story about wwii
Have to wonder why the editors of best american stories of the century could possibly have selected the story "they all are brothers" ( or some such abstract title) by Nancy Hale - a writer as far as I know completely unread today. Ok great if it were a terrific story that would lead to a revival of interest in her work but really it's such a period piece. From 1942, it describes a woman living in Connecticut thinking and worrying about soldiers overseas and a little domestic drama between two servants who help out on her property and at a neighbor's. The two are both German - the man is a Jew and had been held in a concentration camp ( how he not only survived but wound up in Connecticut in 1942 is not even explained). The German woman shares his loathing of hitter but still condescends to him (at best)because of his faith. At end of story the neighbor woman a real nasty person mean to all the servants fires the Jewish man and threatens to turn him into to immigration- the other woman says she'll write a letter on his behalf (why not hire him?). Maybe the subtlety of the story eluded me and I do appreciate the idea of a domestic story about the war years (there are millions of these from England but few from the US) but does this one really get at the complex relationships among Americans of different classes and ethnic backgrounds? Does it even make sense? How man concentration camp survivors could have been in the states in 1942?