Waiting for Walter
A. S. Balfour
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“That night he dreamt she ran towards him across a vast graveyard under a moonlit sky calling his name. He reached out to her but as fast as she ran she couldn’t close the distance. Then as if out of nowhere, she grasped his hand.”
Set partly in late 1950’s London, Waiting for Walter follows the fortunes of two people over a forty-year time span, crisscrossing between countries. Days before his son’s marriage to an Asian girl, Martin is obsessed by a chance sighting of a familiar young woman on the other side of the street. Whilst wading through old love letters in his attic, a dried up ginkgo leaf falls to the floor and he is transported back to his romantic past to the girl who waited.
In 1958, Martin, a Jewish boy, met Leni, a young German au pair, at The Moulin Rouge club in London. After a tempestuous start, they fell passionately in love. Secret plans to marry were made but in the aftermath of WW2 and the Holocaust, Martin’s father’s prejudice was immutable and Martin faced an impossible decision. Unable to stand up to his father and bridge the deep-rooted cultural divide, he makes a promise to each that he could not keep.
Now in their sixties, and after years of sworn silence, Martin and Leni arrange to meet once more in Heidelberg. There, a single act of beauty and courage finally re-unites them in an unexpected farewell, leaving Martin with a heartbreaking dilemma...
Waiting for Walter is a unique and powerfully moving love story with a historical setting and a strong sense of jeopardy. It will appeal to fans of Julian Barnes, David Nichols, and Colm Tóibín.