Review: The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa

By Irene Pearcey

Armando Lucas Correa in his latest novel THE NIGHT TRAVELRS takes the reader on a journey through
some of the 20th centuries most turbulent times following the lives of four generations of women, Ally,
Lilith, Nadine and Luna. The journey begins in Berlin, 1931.

“It’s a Rhineland bastard. You’ve brought a mischling into the world. This girl isn’t German, she’s Black.”
Ally had just given birth to her daughter, Lilith. Her father, Marcus, was a Black jazz musician and would
“disappear” before Lilith’s third birthday and so began Ally’s solitary journey through Nazi Germany and
Hitlers “racial hygiene” program that would become the law of the land in 1933. Ally and Lilith spent
their days within the walls of their apartment, venturing to the streets and the parks only in the dark. Al
“By night, we’re all the same color”.
As Hitler’s eugenics policy finds firm footing in Germany, Ally knows that Lilith’s future will depend on
her ability to send Lilith away.
In May of 1939 Ally put Lilith in the hands of her neighbors Albert and Beatrice Herzog and watched as
her daughter boarded the Saint Louis bound for Cuba.
December 1948 Veradero, Cuba
Lilith, now seventeen, has fallen in love with Martin and Martin trains as a pilot to support the now
disposed Cuban leader El Hombre, (Batista) who lives in Daytona Beach. In the 1948 elections El
Hombre was elected as senator in absentia and returns to Cuba. The war that had raged for years in
Europe has finally ended but another more localized conflict was just beginning on the once beautiful
and prosperous Cuban island. In the ensuing years political unrest creates an environment in Havana
that will forever change the island and the life Lilith and Martin had once envisioned. On New Years Eve
1957, the first day of their long-awaited honeymoon an explosion rocks the Tropicana cabaret club and
shouts of “Down with Batista!”. As their chauffeur escorts them to safety and their car Martin holds
Lilith’s hand. “This country is going down in flames.”
Havana, Cuba 1962
Four years after her husband’s arrest as a supporter of Batista, Martin is executed. As social and
political unrest consumes her adopted island home Lilith knows the only chance for her 3 year-old
daughter is to send Nadine away. With the help of Catholic nuns Lilith smuggles Nadine out of Cuba.
Lilith remains, finally understanding the decision her own mother had been forced to make years earlier.
New York 1975
Thirteen year old Nadine had never wondered about her past. She remembered little of her mother
and the island where she was born. She knew her grandmother had been German poet but knew little
else of her family history. She had wanted for nothing. Her life with Irma and Jordan Taylor was
peaceful until the night a journalist showed up at their front door in search of Irma Brauns. Shortly after
that visit Irma Brauns was arrested by the German government and charged with Nazi war crimes.

Jordan and Nadine left their Queens home, headed for Dusseldorf to support his wife as she faced
charges of crimes against humanity. Nadine forgot her New York life and went about rebuilding a new
life in Germany. She finished school, enrolled in university in Berlin. It was there she met Anton Paulus
and began a search for her grandmother Ally Keller.

Bochum-Linden, Germany 1996
After the birth of her daughter, Luna, Nadine “promised herself she would open her eyes and
reconstruct her history” from broken fragments. She followed a trail opened to her by Professor
Galland who was researching the German poet Ally Keller.
When the Berlin wall came down in 1989 Professor Galland had unlimited access to university archives.
With his help Nadine and Luna began to reconstruct the history of her grandmother Ally Keller, the Black
musician Marcus, Bruno Bormann and Franz Bouhler the man who had saved Lilith.
A journey that began in Germany in 1931 finds an ending in Germany in 2015. The pieces of a turbulent
life, a family history hidden in forgotten papers will at last bring closure, understanding and peace for
four generations of women if not for the world at large.