New novel tells of a little-known Harvard alumnus and war hero

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 21:14 in Psychology & Sociology

Author Julie Orringer’s “The Flight Portfolio” is rooted in history. The novel tells the story of Harvard graduate Varian Fry ’30, a journalist and editor who was sometimes referred to as the “American Schindler.” While working for the Emergency Rescue Committee in France during World War II, Fry helped save Jewish members of Europe’s cultural elite, including artists, writers, and musicians, from Nazi concentration camps. Orringer worked on the book when she was the Lisa Goldberg Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2013–14. The Gazette spoke with her about the book and how her time on campus helped her shape it. Q&A Julie Orringer GAZETTE: A key theme in the book involves this question of how you can value one person’s life over another’s. The characters struggle with their work, which involves choosing whom to save during the Holocaust. How did you decide to incorporate this into the story? ORRINGER: That was...

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