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The Border of Truth

  • A Barnes and Noble Great New Writers Selection

  • Hadassah-Brandeis HBI Conversation 2007 Selection

  • Jewish Book Council Selection

At 41, single professor Sara Leader decides to create a family by adopting a child. After the adoption agency asks for details about her background, Sara reluctantly begins to probe her father’s secret history—in particular, his flight as a 17-year-old Holocaust refugee aboard a ship denied entry into America. The more she learns about her father’s past, the more Sara feels the need to question him about what happened—and the more she realizes how her father’s secrets have shaped her own life. Alternating between a teenage boy’s energetic letters to Eleanor Roosevelt and a daughter’s sifting through the fragments of her father’s traumatic wartime choices, Victoria Redel brilliantly imbues her characters with not only bravery and strength but with the humor to survive the pain of the past and the uncertainty of what lies ahead.


 “The Border of Truth is such a good novel that it could also be any American’s story.”


“The family mystery builds to a climax, the revelations of love, guilt, betrayal, loss, and denial are haunting.”


“A rich, multilayered story…”



“Redel moves us back and forth between the present day and 1940, and once again (as in her novel Loverboy) makes a psychologically complex book matter-of-fact and mesmerizing.”



The Border of Truth makes fictional use of my father's flight through Europe after the German's bombed Brussels and his passage on the ship the Quanza. My father and 100 other passengers were refused entry at New York Harbor, then again in Mexico and were to be returned to Nazi Europe. These are a few photos that were helpful while I wrote the novel. In one photograph on the Quanza, my father is next to the French actor, Marcel Dalio and his wife Madeleine Lebeau, who were also among the political refugees. 

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