BY DAVID R. GILLHAM
REVIEW BY: MARCIA R. RUDIN
What if Anne Frank had survived the Holocaust?
David R. Gillham’s Annelies: A Novel (Viking and Penguin Books) is a fictionalized portrayal of Anne Frank based on the premise that she recovers from her illness in Bergen-Belsen, returns to post-war Amsterdam, and is reunited with her father, Otto, whom she calls Pim.
Anne (Annelies in German) and Pim, the only other survivor of her family, immediately find themselves in conflict. Otto wants to “move on” with life, but Anne, mired in memories of the past, is incapable of doing so and obsessively clings to the past.
Overcome with survivor’s guilt, she is haunted by the ghost of her sister Margot, whose death in Bergen-Belsen she believes she caused, and with whom she carries on often-painful imaginary conversations. In her memory, she also relives the arguments and antagonistic relationship she had with her mother.