An octogenarian bookseller living alone in London has found a description of his father, as a young doctor in 1920s Breslau, in a story about Weimar Germany. Perhaps his own story might be worth telling?In 1945, as a sixteen-year-old boy rescued from the ruins of Europe, he arrives at a Yorkshire farmhouse. Working on the farm for two years in the strange atmosphere of rural England immediately after World War II, he learns to deal with his memories of what happened to him and to his family and to trust, up to a point, those around him in a foreign country.
London in 1947 is stranger still. But the boy is lucky, as he has been since 1941, when marksmen tried to shoot him into a pit full of corpses in a Lithuanian forest. The year before, different executioners in a different forest further east had shot and killed his father.
Those who faced the worst atrocities of World War II, which were inflicted on people in the "bloodlands" of eastern Poland and western Russia, knew that there was little to choose between the two mighty machines, Nazi and Soviet. How was it possible for the individual to survive the crushing wheels of ideology, terror, and mass murder with his integrity intact? The Leaves Are Falling, a sequel to A Postcard from the Volcano but a stand-alone story, explores this question.
Lucy Beckett lives in Yorkshire and was educated at Cambridge University. For many years she was a professor of literature at Ampleforth Abbey. Her books include In the Light of Christ, a comprehensive study of the Western literary tradition; The Time before You Die, a novel about the English Reformation; and A Postcard from the Volcano. These have been warmly praised on both sides of the Atlantic. She is married and has four children.