Home > memoir, non-fiction, reviews > Girl Without A Country: Rosemary Schulga

Girl Without A Country: Rosemary Schulga

February 5, 2009

A rare intimate account of a resourceful girl’s adventures as she sets out on her own in a quest for knowledge and freedom. It is an inspiring story of hardship, courage, and hope, told with wit and charm. Born stateless in a village in Germany, without any citizenship, the girl without a country has to satisfy the demands of the law for non-citizens. She seeks a better life by immigrating to Australia, but not before falling in love with an American soldier. Their touching love story develops across the oceans. Trying to obtain a visa to visit her love in America, she is forced to return to Germany to have her passport for foreigners extended. The irony is that she has to be in Germany first before she can receive permission to return to Germany. A girl without a country has no right to travel. She manages the impossible by taking, without proper documentation and without resources, a remarkable journey from Australia to Germany, travelling through Japan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, India, and Turkey. The reader is held in suspense as, against all odds, she finally succeeds in her quest. Readers may more deeply appreciate their own citizenship after reading this book.

While I don’t doubt that the author has had a more-than-usually difficult life, I’m afraid that Girl Without a Country did nothing to help me sympathise with her.

Judging from the back cover copy, it’s unlikely that English is her first language and so it’s possible that much of the clumsiness in the text is due to an over-literal translation from German to English: but as you know, I judge books here against the standards of mainstream, commercial publishing and so won’t accept any such excuses.

There were many careless errors: on page six I found both “proof reading” and “proofreading” in the same paragraph; and then on page nine there was this sentence: “We were nine children in our family, and I was the youngest of the five girls, having three younger brothers.” I realise it’s possible that the author had an older brother too, or that maths isn’t one of her strong points: but errors like this are not going to endear this story to anyone.

The combination of clumsy phrasing, the heavy use of cliché, and the abundance of careless errors took me to the third page of the main narrative—page nine in the book.

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  1. February 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    (sorry to intrude here, but the blogger software does not allow me to comment on howpublishingworks from my Mac – I *would* like to comment on your last post, but find it impossible. I feel strongly enough about the topic to add my voice to the chorus- please *do* go ahead, there’s far too little written from a UK publishing perspective. In my field – speculative fiction – it is often reccommended that aspiring authors seek representation/publication in the US first.)

  2. February 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    GK, I wonder why you can’t comment over there?Thank you for taking the trouble to find a way to reach me. I am considering everyone’s comments carefully, and am grateful for the input.If anyone’s wondering what this is all about, you can find out here:http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/2009/02/its-all-about-me.html

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