Child of All Nations by Irmgard Keun
When she died at the age of 77 in 1982, Irmgard Keun left behind no memoirs. What she did leave, alongside a clutch of brilliant novels, was this delightful, harrowing account of her life between 1936 and 1940, in exile as an “immoral, anti-German” writer.
This is at once a historical record of prewar Europe and a glimpse into the chaotic life of an alcoholic. But the novel’s real power comes in capturing the free-falling anxiety of the displaced person, who cannot be homesick because home no longer exists.