The Light at the End of the Day

The Light at the End of the Day

Eleanor Wasserberg

A family scattered.

Lovers torn apart.

A painting that unites them all.

When Jozef is commissioned to paint a portrait of the younger daughter of Kraków’s grand Oderfeldt family, it is only his desperate need for money that drives him to accept. He has no wish to indulge a pampered child-princess or her haughty, condescending parents – and almost doesn’t notice Alicia’s bookish older sister, Karolina.  

But when he is ushered by a servant into their house on Kraków’s fashionable Bernadyńska street in the winter of 1937, he has no inkling of the way his life will become entangled with the Oderfeldts’. Or of the impact that the German invasion will have upon them all.
 
As Poland is engulfed by war, and Jozef’s painting is caught up in the tides of history, Alicia, Karolina and their parents are forced to flee – their Jewish identity transformed into something dangerous, and their comfortable lives overturned …
 
Spanning countries and decades The Light at the End of the Day is a heart-breaking novel of exile, survival and how we remember what is lost.

Reviews of The Light at the End of the Day

    • ‘Psychologically acute and emotionally absorbing, this distinctive tale of a privileged Polish-Jewish family overcome by the horrors of war is full of unforgettable characters. The Oderfeldts’ refusal to believe what is happening to them at every turn has something urgent to say to us now’ Rachel Hore, author of Last Letter Home
    • ‘A beautiful and tragic story of love, cruelty and loss. Wasserberg is a natural storyteller with hypnotic descriptive powers. In her company you feel completely held, as if in the palm of a hand’ Megan Bradbury. author of Everyone is Watching
    • ‘A masterpiece of storytelling. Eleanor Wasserberg is a skilled portrait artist of the human instinct, and her characters are perfectly balanced in their intricate colours, beauty, and flaws. This book broke my heart’ Nick Bradley, author of The Cat and the City
    • ‘Haunting, magnificent and deeply personal. It will stay with you’ Rachel Edwards, author of Darling
    • ‘Among so many other books set in this period, I found this story to have something new to share. The Oderfeldts are the sort of family you would usually love to hate, flawed and spoiled by their privilege, but watching them lose everything felt like a tragedy. This is a story that highlights the strength that can exist within all of us and the importance of friendship when there is nothing else left’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City
    • ‘Superb – the terrifying chaos of the Second World War is brilliantly realised by Wasserberg, whose very fine writing ensures that even minor characters are brought compellingly to life. Rich in evocative detail, and heartrending’ Frances Liardet, author of We Must Be Brave