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  • Arcadia Books

A Sea Change

Michael Arditti

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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)


The enthralling story of a refugee from Nazi Germany and his voyage to a new life across the Atlantic

'A moving and heartening story in which spirit triumphs over political barbarity' Edna O'Brien

'Brilliant use of a momentous journey . . . A gripping and adroit fusion of history with personal drama' Rose Tremain

'This is the story of how I became a man . . .'

In May 1939, the SS St. Louis left Hamburg for Havana, carrying almost a thousand refugees from Hitler's Germany. Over the following weeks, the ship criss-crossed the ocean, buffeted alternately by hope and disappointment, as it sought asylum in a friendly port and war drew inexorably closer.

Based on actual events, Michael Arditti's enthralling novel is the memoir of one of the passengers, fifteen-year-old Karl, heir to a department store fortune. He recounts both the horror and excitement of the trip, along with his personal voyage of discovery, as he learns the truth about his family, battles Nazi crew members and plans mutiny. Most momentously, he describes his first, passionate love affair with the beautiful young Johanna.

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Michael Arditti

Michael Arditti is a novelist, short story writer and critic. His novels are The Celibate (1993), Pagan and her Parents (Pagan's Father in the USA) (1996), Easter (2000), Unity (2005), A Sea Change (2006), The Enemy of the Good (2009), Jubilate (2011), The Breath of Night (2013), Widows and Orphans (2016), Of Men and Angels (2018) and The Anointed (2020). His short story collection, Good Clean Fun, was published in 2004. He was awarded a Harold Hyam Wingate scholarship in 2000, a Royal Literary Fund fellowship in 2001, an Oppenheim-John Downes memorial award in 2003 and Arts Council awards in 2004 and 2007. He was the Leverhulme artist in residence at the Freud museum in 2008. His novels have been short- and long-listed for several literary awards and Easter won the inaugural Waterstone's Mardi Gras award. In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary DLitt by the University of Chester. He is currently theatre critic of the Sunday Express.

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