In Jerusalem on a beautiful day in 1898, Johannes, a young German boy goes on a trip with his father and an artist friend to Hezekiah’s ancient tunnel and disappears.
Later the same day and just a few miles away, his mother gives birth to a second son, a child destined to grow up in a house of grief, neglected by his parents and forever in the shadow of the brother he never met. Hanging on the kitchen wall the artist’s evocative portrait of the lost boy is a constant reminder of the family’s pain.
Sweeping across five decades and set against the political backdrop of both world wars, the Weimar Republic, Nazism and the realisation of Zionist hopes, Portrait of a Lost Boy is a stunning story of love and loss and of the enduring strength of the human spirit.
From the history of the German Templers in Palestine to the plight of Jewish wartime refugees, its finely wrought historical accuracy underpins an affecting tale of flight and takes the reader from the Middle East to Germany and to Venice as it develops its themes of human disaster and personal survival.
At once beautiful and heart-rending it is only in the closing pages, with a visceral depiction of the firebombing of Dresden, that the fate of the lost boy is brought to a powerful and memorable close.
Click here to listen to our newest author, Michael Bartram introducing his debut novel, Portrait of a Lost Boy, and here to listen to him talking about the origins of his interest in the Middle East. Michael continues here by telling us a little about the history of German Jews in Palestine, and here he tells us how stories of lost childhood have influenced his writing.
In the final video Michael tells us about becoming a novelist, and discusses comparisons of Portrait of a Lost Boy to Dr Zhivago.
Portrait of a Lost Boy: Michael Bartram, the official full author video
Portrait of a Lost Boy: Michael Bartram, the official launch
"A tour-de-force of historical fiction that grips and holds you tight, right up to the final full stop."
Paul Blezard, former Literary Editor, The Lady.
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