A Child al Confino by Eric Lamet

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Lamet offers a tender, highly observant memoir of his boyhood years in Italy during World War II.
With his Jewish mother and father, the author spent the first eight years of his life in Austria in a comfortable bourgeois atmosphere. But then the storm clouds of war forced the family to move from Vienna to Milan, Paris, Nice and San Remo, before they found the obscure sanctuary of Ospedaletto, Italy. Along the way, Lamet’s father left for Poland, and therefore plays little role in the remainder of the memoir, but his mother remains a steady force throughout. As the author writes of his days with her, he brings an authentic feel of childhood to the story, and readers will likely remember their own similar, universal joys. He touches upon activities in all manner of daily life, including woodworking, hearing Jewish singers and occasionally eating in restaurants. He also writes of attending summer camp and spending another summer on a farm, and of the kindness of a newswoman who lent him the latest comic books—all while he lived as a Jew in Europe at the wrong time in history. He draws other moments with a quieter, emotional ache: His mother finding a new man (“My parents had never kissed like that in front of me”), his family’s lack of food and the terrifying experience of seeing a uniformed German soldier. The book’s second section comprises the author’s postwar years, and although readers may enjoy finding out what happened to Lamet down the road, his life during wartime is far more gripping, whether he’s dodging bombs or learning to love poetry.

An engaging childhood memoir of World War II.

Page count:432pp

About Eric Lamet

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Eric Lamet - nee Erich Lifshutz - was born in Vienna in 1930. The son of Polish Jews, he fled to Italy with his family after the Germans invaded Austria. After World War II ended, Lamet settled in Naples, where he finished high school and attended the University of Naples. In 1950 the family moved to the United States, and Lamet went to the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia. Fluent in German, Italian, English, Spanish, and Yiddish, Lamet served as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department, taught Italian for several years, and became a successful businessman. After retiring as CEO of his own firm in 1992, he returned to his great love: singing opera and Neapolitan songs. Lamet has three children, two stepchildren, and seven granddaughters. He lives with his wife in Florida.
Published October 13, 2013 by Enrico Lamet. 476 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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