Aharon Appelfeld: The Holocaust and Beyond

Gila Ramras-Rauch, Author, Gilah Ramraz-Ra'ukh, Author
Gila Ramras-Rauch, Author, Gilah Ramraz-Ra'ukh, Author Indiana University Press $39.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-253-34831-9
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An indispensable spiritual roadmap to Israeli writer Appelfeld's fictional universe, this sophisticated study offers sensitive analyses of his novels and short-story collections. Appelfeld was nine in 1941, when Germans overran his native Bukovina in Central Europe, murdering his mother. He wandered for years across war-torn Europe, arriving in Palestine in 1946, where he was reunited with his father. Ramras-Rauch, professor of Jewish literature at Hebrew College, Boston, relates Appelfeld's personal dislocation to his fictional world, where the impossible and horrific become possible, and to his need to plumb the roots of a lost Jewish past. She discerns two patterns in his fiction: stories of prewar assimilated Jewish society, where excessive cultivation and intellectualism portend a sense of looming catastrophe; and narratives of fragmented characters, lives ruptured by the Holocaust and reduced to an elemental state wherein humans are stripped of their humanity. (Mar.)
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