Two sisters, thirteen and fourteen, are suddenly orphaned. Kidnapped by a family friend to a brothel, they are held captive by their fear, shame, and the younger sister’s forced addiction to morphine. Love and psychodrama gives them the courage to finally escape Vienna. Once in England, however, Hedy discovers her younger sister Susannah longs to be independent— and in Italy. By 1938, despite the safety they each have found among the privileged, they return to Vienna just before Hitler arrives, putting their own lives and those of two children in danger. Sex, love, art, and dramatic ruses are here during the steady and terrifying rise of fascism in Austria and Italy. Look After Her reveals this truth: no matter how close we are to another human being, even a beloved sister, that’s what we are: close— we all have our own secrets to keep.
“Here is a voice poignant and alive, offering unusual insights in scintillating dialogue. To leave the last page of this work is to re-enter the world you thought you always knew but which you now recognize anew in Hedy and Susannah. Make no mistake: this is because you have been guided by an author whose rare gift is that of surprise, a manner of holding the reader in generative uncertainty. Hannah Brown’s debut novel Look After Her calls us into the challenge and promise of its pulse and world well beyond the that last, utterly-earned page.”
—Canisia Lubrin, The Dyzgraphxst