Margot Benary-Isbert Mary Lee Krupka - Essay

Mary Lee Krupka

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

To American teen-agers viewing the Germany of the nineteen-thirties from film clips and history books, the decade emerges as a kaleidoscope of goose-stepping Nazis and Hitler's frenetic gestures. In ["Time to Love"], Margot Benary-Isbert proposes that within certain upper-class German families who detested the political pattern of the times, it was possible to enjoy a productive life in relative seclusion from the horrendous events taking form in their land—at least for a time. (p. 14)

The author subtly injects politics into the story, but merely in relation to the Benninger family, to whom Hitler's ambitions are at first a remote annoyance. By book's end, however, the war erupts about them, and their gentle life seems doomed. (p. 18)

Mary Lee Krupka, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1962 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), November 11, 1962.

There are things in [A Time to Love] that are easily dislikable, because it has that German mixture of sentimentality, smugness and earnestness which can grate upon an English mind. But Mrs. Benary's people are people; they are solid, real characters, their lives and their hopes and their sorrows matter to the reader, and the setting of their lives … all is clear and concrete. This is what children and young people like, nor do they despise a certain moral preoccupation. And the setting is really German, not just a scene yanked abroad for a change…. It is a well-written book and one cannot but be absorbed by it. (p. 974)

The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London), 1963; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), November 28, 1963.