Running Home by Brenda Shaw
English | 2019 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.4 Mb
Running Home : Denise is an English teenager and a member of the Jewish minority. Her mother died when she was a baby. Running Home describes her journey to adulthood, taking her through dysfunctional family relationships, confrontations with anti-Semitism and the discovery of the tensions and contradictions of the modern State of Israel. Those who help her on her path include her grandmother who was a refugee from Nazi Germany and a compassionate English Pakistani.
Denise’s father and stepmother are observant Jews who are exasperated by her challenges to their values. At sixteen, Denise is itching to break loose from the suffocating affluence of her London home and is helped by her doting grandmother to escape to a Sixth Form Boarding College in the beautiful countryside of the North of England. But, before Denise finally leaves home, she discovers a startling secret about her mother’s death that will eventually alter the course of her life.
She thrives at her new school until anti-Semitism and racism pollute the atmosphere. At University, she hides her true identity until her boyfriend reveals his own anti-Semitic views. Deciding to visit Israel, Denise finds out more about her mother. She falls in love with the country and a reserve soldier, but disaster strikes when he is seriously wounded in a military clash. Denise returns to England confused and disillusioned. She meets Imran, an English Pakistani whose support and wisdom helps her when her father falls seriously ill and asks for her help. What will the future hold?
“No, it’s nothing, my darling. Maybe I’m getting the flu. I’m tired today, not feeling so well. How was your day?” She spoke with a faint German accent although she had lived in England for sixty-five years.
“Wait. I’ll bring in the tea and then we’ll talk.” A clatter came from the kitchen. “Can I open the new packet of chocolate biscuits?” Denise called.
“There’s some strudel in the fridge, if you want. And a carton of cream.”
Denise brought in the tray and set it on the cherry-wood dining table. Vera shuffled towards the table, stopped and looked through the large window to the treetops of Highgate Wood.
“Look, Deedee. The light is so clear today.”
Denise did not say anything.
“What’s the matter, you look miserable. So tell me what’s happening?”
“My stepmother is a witch. I want to live here with you.”
Vera stirred sugar into her tea. “We’ve been through this before. You know all the reasons.” She asked in a hushed tone. “Is this misery about the bar mitzvah?”
Vera put her hand on her granddaughter’s knee. “Stephanie phoned last night to invite me. You had something to do with it? At first I didn’t even recognise her voice. It’s been fourteen years since we talked.”
“What did she say?”
“That’s between her and me.”
“I told my dad I wouldn’t go to the stupid dinner dance unless you were invited. And they’re desperate that I go so they can show everyone how happy our family is. What did you say to her?”
“I guessed that you were behind it.” Vera laughed. “You shouldn’t have spoken to your father like that. There’s no way I can go.”