The Girl with the Leica

Europa. Oct. 2019. 364p. ISBN 9781609455477. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781609455484. F
Janeczek’s fictionalized biography of Gerda Taro (1910–37), one half of the photographer team known as “Robert Capa,” is set in Paris in the summer of 1937, amid the rise of fascism, Nazism, economic depression, antipathy toward foreigners, and the Spanish Civil War. Gerda, a 26-year-old German-Jewish expat and antifascist, is determined to document the conflict in Spain but becomes the first female photojournalist killed on the battlefield. Left to mourn Gerda are partner Endre Friedmann, who went on to claim the name Robert Capa; an old female friend; and two ex-lovers, including Dr. William Chardack, later known as the pioneer of the implantable pacemaker. Their remembrances of Gerda are told here in alternating chapters.
VERDICT This novel presents a chance to highlight Gerda’s story, her daring and accomplishments, and might have finally removed her from under Capa’s shadow. Instead, Strega Prize winner Janeczek (Bloody Cow), and translator Goldstein, deliver a work filled with impenetrable prose, scant action, and an unsatisfying portrait of a woman with a brief, if eventful and interesting life.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing