Exile music, Jennifer Steil’s magnificent book -Eyelands Book Awards 2020 Grand Prize, is now available in Greek language, translated by Gregory Papadoyiannis.
Based on an unexplored slice of World War II history, Exile Music is the captivating story of a young Jewish girl whose family flees refined and urbane Vienna for safe harbor in the mountains of Bolivia
As a young girl growing up in Vienna in the 1930s, Orly has an idyllic childhood filled with music. Her father plays the viola in the Philharmonic, her mother is a well-regarded opera singer, her beloved and charismatic older brother holds the neighborhood in his thrall, and most of her eccentric and wonderful extended family live nearby. Only vaguely aware of Hitler’s rise or how her Jewish heritage will define her family’s identity, Orly spends her days immersed in play with her best friend and upstairs neighbor, Anneliese. Together they dream up vivid and elaborate worlds, where they can escape the growing tensions around them.
But in 1938, Orly’s peaceful life is shattered when the Germans arrive. Her older brother flees Vienna first, and soon Orly, her father, and her mother procure refugee visas for La Paz, a city high up in the Bolivian Andes. Even as the number of Jewish refugees in the small community grows, her family is haunted by the music that can no longer be their livelihood, and by the family and friends they left behind. While Orly and her father find their footing in the mountains, Orly’s mother grows even more distant, harboring a secret that could put their family at risk again. Years pass, the war ends, and Orly must decide: Is the love and adventure she has found in La Paz what defines home, or is the pull of her past in Europe–and the piece of her heart she left with Anneliese–too strong to ignore?
“A beautiful coming-of-age tale… Moving, evocative, and well-researched, this is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the last page has been turned.” —Booklist (starred)
“Immersive… evocative.” —Publishers Weekly
“Beautifully narrated…From the very first pages I was swept up.”
—Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones
“Gorgeous and lyrical, Exile Music captures the delicate rhythm of one girl’s coming of age while driven by war and exile. Heart-wrenching, tender and powerful.” —Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie Lee
Jennifer Steil is the author of The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, (Broadway Books 2010), a memoir about her tenure as the editor-in-chief of the Yemen Observer in Sana’a, Yemen. The book received favorable reviews in The New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald, and Newsweek magazine as well as in other publications. National Geographic Traveler has included the book in its list of recommended reading. The Minneapolis Star Tribune chose it as a best travel book of the year in 2010, and Elle awarded it the magazine’s Readers’ Prize in August of that year. The Woman Who Fell From the Sky has been published in the US, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, and Turkey. Steil’s novel The Ambassador’s Wife was published by Doubleday on July 28, 2015. The book received the 2013 Best Novel award in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. The Ambassador’s Wife is published in Italy and will be published in Bulgaria, Greece, and Poland.
Steil’s novel Exile Music was published by Viking in 2020. Exile Music tells the story of a Jewish girl, Orly, whose family flees the Nazis, relocating from Vienna to the mountains of Bolivia. Steil contributed to the book Not A Rose, CHARTA, Milan, New York, 2012. For this book, a hybrid work that is both book and conceptual art installation, she wrote an essay entitled “Roses After Rain.”