The Coldest Winter by Paula Fox
A Stringer in Liberated Europe

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In this elegant and affecting companion to her “extraordinary” memoir, Borrowed Finery, a young writer flings herself into a Europe ravaged by the Second World War (The Boston Globe)

In 1946, Paula Fox walked up the gangplank of a partly reconverted Liberty with the classic American hope of finding experience—or perhaps salvation—in Europe. She was twenty-two years old, and would spend the next year moving among the ruins of London, Warsaw, Paris, Prague, Madrid, and other cities as a stringer for a small British news service.
In this lucid, affecting memoir, Fox describes her movements across Europe’s scrambled borders: unplanned trips to empty castles and ruined cathedrals, a stint in bombed-out Warsaw in the midst of the Communist election takeovers, and nights spent in apartments here and there with distant relatives, friends of friends, and in shabby pensions with little heat, each place echoing with the horrors of the war. A young woman alone, with neither a plan nor a reliable paycheck, Fox made her way with the rest of Europe as the continent rebuilt and rediscovered itself among the ruins.
Long revered as a novelist, Fox won over a new generation of readers with her previous memoir, Borrowed Finery. Now, with The Coldest Winter, she recounts another chapter of a life seemingly filled with stories—a rare, unsentimental glimpse of the world as seen by a writer at the beginning of an illustrious career.


About Paula Fox

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Paula Fox was born April 22, 1923 in New York City. When she was eight, she moved to a Cuban plantation and stayed for two years. In Cuba, she went to a one-room school with eight other students who ranged in age from six to fourteen. Fox attended nine schools before she was twelve. She spent 3 years at Columbia University but didn't graduate. Fox didn't start writing until she started a job teaching troubled children. Before that she worked in a wide variety of jobs. At sixteen, she was reading books for Warner Brothers, including Spanish novels. She was also a salesgirl, a model, a worker in a rivet-sorting shop, and lastly a lathe operator at the Bethlehem Steel during World War II. She wrote her first adult novel, Poor George, while she was living in Greece with her family followed by Maurice's Room, her first children's book. Fox is best known for her children's books, such as The Slave Dancer, which earned her a Newbery Medal and a Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1984. Her adult novels include The Widows Children, A Servant's Tale, and The God of Nightmares, and News from the World: Stories and Essays.
Published November 1, 2005 by Henry Holt and Co.. 144 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In Spain, she sees how fascism affects ordinary people and muses that the term political life “is so abstract until a cane is laid across one’s back.” Back in New York, now a tutor of troubled youth, she invites her charges one night to look through a powerful telescope.

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Publishers Weekly

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A year after WWII ended, Fox, then 22, left New York City for Europe, where she found work as a stringer for a small British news service.

Sep 05 2005 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter : A String...

Entertainment Weekly

In 1946, Fox moved to Europe as a reporter, where she played bridge with a concentration camp survivor, covered a Polish election, had an affair with a Corsican politician, and met Jean-Paul Sartre.

Nov 02 2005 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter : A String...


Before turning to Europe, she writes briefly of her life in New York, alternating between a world-weariness that belies her then-tender years, but not the life chronicled in Borrowed Finery ("For what seemed one hundred years, I paid rent to landlords"), and sheer delight at life in a city where ...

Feb 14 2014 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter : A String...

Story Circle Book Reviews

The Coldest Winter is one of Paula Fox's earliest books, and I had meant to read it years ago.

Feb 22 2007 | Read Full Review of The Coldest Winter : A String...

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