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Moving to West Side New York

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Frederic Raphael Writer
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America is something else entirely. My grandmother in America was Lithuanian who had been born in St Jo, Missouri. My grandfather, Max Mauser, had been born in Germany in a place called Bad Kreuznach, I think. And he left Germany when he was 14, I think, in about 1906 or 1907, perhaps a bit earlier, no probably in the early... in the early 1900s, and came across the Atlantic on his own at the age of 14 to meet an uncle who lived in St Louis and from then on he made his way as best he could, and it wasn't all that good, in America and became very American. Meanwhile his brother was left behind in Germany and was killed fighting for the Kaiser in the First War. Max became extremely American. 

My parents met in Chicago in 1930 on Christmas Eve, a romantic occasion my mother always used to tell me, and my father's dancing and British accent and various other qualities certainly charmed her. My father had gone to America because after Molly and her child had been paid by his father to disappear he was, I think, more chagrined than grateful, although he was certainly grateful to be disembarrassed of this woman and her child, and he said to my grandfather and, I presume, my grandmother, though she would probably be less interested, that he would marry the first Jewish woman that he met who didn't have a moustache and who had decent legs. My mother didn't have particularly good legs though they were quite long and she always thought they were very thin but she was a beauty and she didn't have a moustache and she was a young girl of 19 and my father was 30; not a great age after all. 

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: 1930

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 13 August 2014