The Dolphin People
Harper, Nov 17 2009, $13.99
In 1943 on the Russian Front, Erich Linden’s father died. Two years later, now sixteen years old, Erich, his widow mom Helga and his twelve years old brother Zeppi flee the ruined Third Reich for Geneva; there they board the Stromboli and sail to Venezuela where Uncle Klaus waits for them. He will marry Helga so he can care for her and her two sons while also using them as a front to dodge war crime prosecution for his work at the concentration camps.
In Venezuela the Brandt family, as they are now called, flies into the Amazon to their new home, but the plane crashes. The Yayomi tribe welcomes the lost Brandt family because they believe they are the dolphins wearing human garb prophesied by a tribesman's dreams. German anthropologist Gerhard Wentzler who lives with the tribe to study them assists the Brandt brood in their temporary not so easy adaptation.
The blood (and other liquids too frequently) flows in this deep dark allegorical historical thriller. Each of the Brandt family member has their civilization attire torn off along the lines of Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus Clothing theory of man so that the reader can explore deeply their motivations to include growing up too fast, anti-Semitism, and other racial superiority. Not an easy read, The Dolphin People is a thought provoking Post WW II tale told mostly through the biased filtered lens of Erich as the narrator.