10 MAY 1935, Page 44


By Lilo Linke -

Tale Without End was the title of the first book Fritulein Lilo Linke wrote about herself : this further instalment of her autobiography, Restless. Flags (Constable/ 7s. 6d.), presents the "picture of a German girl, growing up during the last two decades." Thereby it purports to show " the common fate of her generation "—which is a good, no doubt a valid, excuse for the book. And it needs one. For Fri. Linke wears her heart not on her Republican Social-Democratic sleeve but, like a complete wandervogel outfit, aflutter to the four winds of heaven. In fact, making a mandolin of it to strum on, she so uncomfortably reminds one of those primitive and predatory Teutons who hike through happier and aliPn climes, armed with their music or merely with visiting-cards, that criticism of her book at once becomes personal and impossible. The reader resents her bland indiscretion, her stolid assurance and glutinous sentimentality : he finds that, looming so large in the foreground, Fri. Linke contrives to obscure the back- ground she claims to represent. At least let us hope that she dis- torts it ; for it is a distressing muddle. Seen through her eye s, Germany becomes a belligerent nursery—what a success this book would have in France ! Pity for the patient bread-queues of blockaded Germany is superseded by half incredulous amazement—and, fraiddy, alarm—as one after another the restless flags are unfurled : flags so numerous that apart from the Imperial, Republican, Communist and Nazi emblems on the jacket, we hear of "five hundred different organizations" in which German youth became absorbed, even "the most obscure of associations" having "discovered the importance of safeguarding its future by founding a youth-

movement of its own; often composed completely of school- children." And through this welter of near-starvation, inflation, infatuation, idealism and emotional excess, Fri. Linke parades an aggressive and callow personality, awkwardly goose-stepping in a foreign tongue; which her publishers and proof-readers have now, alas, abandoned to her curious devices.