About the Book
Adam Baumann is a man both of and outside of his time. Born in a German community in Hungary between wars, he lived a primitive childhood. His father was tough, his mother resourceful and tender. His brother and sisters were all good children. But Adam was different. He was larger than the life he was born into. Smart, daring, talented, and hard-working, he struggled against the restrictions of his time, place, and family. All the while he was deeply devoted to them.
An adventurous youngster with nowhere to go, his first departure from home took him across Hungary, where he lived as a stable hand in the house of a Hungarian nobleman… until his explosive father located him. Adam’s attempts to resolve the schism between his extraordinary capacity and the smallness of the world into which he was born would lead him on a series of dangerous escapades, including war captured by the Soviets, deportation out of Hungary, crossing the fence into eastern Germany where the Russians held his sister, and finally, crossing the Atlantic to the new world.
In his adopted home country of Canada, Adam’s never-ending quest for more continued as he struggled to make a living and then surpassed his wildest dreams. With the love of his life at his side, Adam overcame hurdle after hurdle, whilst caring for family spread across two continents. Adam Baumann is a 20th Century hero–a mixture of the ambition and independence of an Ayn Rand hero with the tender heart and family devotion of an ordinary man.
Roxi Harms does a magnificent job of capturing the complexities of Baumann’s character, both the extraordinary and the ordinary. With skill and detail, she brings to life the story of a man who triumphed over the limitations of history to become his greatest self.
— Ginger Moran, author of The Algebra of Snow
A poignant, arresting debut… Harms makes her dazzling foray into the world of fiction with this remarkable story about hunger, desperation, cruelty, and resilience which is set against the backdrop of WW II. Growing up in an isolated village in eastern Hungary between the great wars, Adam yearns to spread his wings wider. From a 12-year-old runaway searching for food to a 15-year-old shivering in the mud of a frozen foxhole on the Eastern Front, Adam’s resilience is boundless.
Struggling through a war-torn landscape, Adam builds his life from the ashes, but unforeseen circumstances will change his destiny forever. The story follows the trajectory of Adam and his family’s lives from pre-war years through WWII and then the displacement of German families from Hungary and other countries to Germany and its aftermath.
Interweaving various story lines and set against the background of a well-trodden period of history – as Hitler plunged Europe into war and afterwards as Europe reeled from the final destruction and horror of WW2 – Harms stays focused on the tests and triumphs ordinary Germans faced during the war. The vivid descriptions of German-Hungarian culture and the people’s ways of living add to the intrigue of the story. Moving, assured prose, swift narrative, and memorable characters make this poignant tale all the more remarkable. Harms skillfully portrays one man’s journey of triumph against hardships, successfully bringing a complex and turbulent time in history to life. A riveting, poignant, coming-of-age story that will delight both lovers of historical fiction and literary fiction.
— The Prairies Book Review
All profits are directed to The Upside of Hunger Scholarship Fund, awarded annually to underprivileged Grade 12 students wishing to pursue a university education.
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