Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers
When the Cows Come Home-bookcover

By: Peter Longley

When the Cows Come Home

Pages: 192 Ratings:
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*Your order will be dispatched after the publication date of 19-07-2024

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In this sweeping family saga, the lives of five Bavarian German families unfold against the backdrop of the twentieth century, spanning from 1937 to 2020. At the heart of the story are Herman Finkelstein, a Jewish professor, and his wife Merla Finkelstein, whose tragic fate during the Holocaust sets the stage for the generations that follow. Their descendants, adopted by Lutheran families after escaping to Switzerland in 1943, have only a vague understanding of their Jewish heritage.

The narrative is centered around the Bavarian towns of Berchtesgaden and Oberstdorf, but also ventures to Switzerland and Israel as Germany grapples with its complex past and the specter of antisemitism. Both branches of the Finkelstein descendants find themselves connected through their herds of Hinterwalder cattle, a bond that ultimately brings them together after two generations of separation.

Through the purchase of a Hinterwalder bull, the families are reunited and uncover the full extent of their Jewish ancestry. While the novel explores the profound impact of the Holocaust, it also serves as a rich social history, illustrating how the ordinary lives of individuals are shaped by war, political upheaval, and cultural shifts.

Peter Longley was brought up in southeast England and educated at Tonbridge School in the 1950s before reading theology at Cambridge. In 1965, he spent the summer as a kibbutznik in Israel. From 1967–1977, he was the estate manager of Tullamaine Castle in Ireland, which was then American-owned, and it took him to Georgia, USA, where in 1978 he went to sea as a ship’s artist. Later, he became a cruise director with Royal Viking Line, and in 1989, he joined Cunard as the cruise director of Queen Elizabeth 2, where he met his Bavarian-born German wife. Cruise ships took him all over the world in the 1980s and 1990s until he retired and became the horticultural interpreter of the Springfeld Botanical Garden in Missouri, USA. He started writing novels in 1978, and he returned to England in 2017.

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