by Annejet van der Zijl, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Amazon Crossing, 272 p, August 1, 2019
Original title: Sonny Boy, Querido
When they fell in love in 1928, Rika and Waldemar could not have been more different. She was a thirty-seven-year-old Dutch-born mother, estranged from her husband. He was her immigrant boarder, not yet twenty, and a wealthy Surinamese descendant of slaves. The child they have together, brown skinned and blue eyed, brings the couple great joy yet raises some eyebrows. Until the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands explodes their promising life.
What unfolds is more than the astonishing story of a love that prevailed over convention. It’s also the quest of a young boy. Through the cruelty of World War II, he will fight for a connection between his father’s South American birthplace and his mother’s European traditions. Lost and displaced for much of his life, but with a legacy of resilience in his blood, he will struggle to find his place in the world.
Moving deftly between personal experience and the devastating machinations of war, The Boy Between Worlds is an unforgettable journey of hope, love, and courage in the face of humanity’s darkest hour.