At the age of 76, widower Andreas, a former forester from Bohemia, estranged from his children, sells his house and furniture and moves to the Canadian wilderness, taking only the Bechstein grand piano of his beloved wife, a soprano singer greatly admired by Hitler. There, in unspoiled nature, he thinks that he will finally be able to re-build his relationship with his favorite son, go hiking and find time to garden, watch the birds and play all the arias his wife sang to enchant her audiences.
But things turn out to be more complicated than that, and he has to make great efforts to see what he wants to see and hear what he wants to hear. He reminisces about the magic moment in 1942 when, sitting in front of the radio, he heard for the first time, live from Berlin, his wife’s wonderful, warm soprano singing Beethoven’s Ode an die Freude, while the first bombs hit the city…. The events of the past are inescapable but can they be laid to rest? Perhaps now it is time to talk to his children.
‘The Gift from Berlin is a fascinating biography. Lucette ter Borg is a top notch story teller’ – Nederlands Dagblad
‘Besides giving powerful descriptions of atmosphere and a strong structure, the keys to this debut are the descriptions of the tragedy that is everyday life’ – de Volkskrant