Rue Ordener, Rue Labat

Sarah Kofman, Author, Ann Smock, Translator
Sarah Kofman, Author, Ann Smock, Translator University of Nebraska Press $15.95 (87p) ISBN 978-0-8032-7780-9
Hardcover - 87 pages - 978-0-8032-2731-6
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Kofman, a French philosopher and the author of Freud and Fiction and Nietzsche and Metaphor, began this recollection of her childhood years during the occupation of Paris in January 1943. In October 1994, she killed herself. This is not a deeply emotional book, although the subject is and Kofman clearly found it difficult to deal with her memories of those years. Encountering a schoolmate who stood up for her against anti-Semitic bullies, she couldn't bring herself to mention the event or her gratitude until a second encounter decades later. After Kofman's father was rounded up in July 1942, never to return, her mother sent her six children to hiding places in the country. Kofman, however, was a clingy, sickly child who, when she wasn't trying to escape, refused to eat food that wasn't kosher, a stubborn tribute to her father that threatened those around her. Eventually she was brought back to Paris and her mother, but when they had to flee their home on the Rue Ordener, Kofman's mother turned to the ""Lady on the Rue Labat,"" who had once been their neighbor. There Kofman was torn between her increasingly difficult Jewish mother and the slightly obsessive coddling of the Christian woman whom Kofman called Meme. Kofman's rather dispassionate record of the occupation isn't one of rationing and hiding, though both are involved. Instead it is the story of the dissolution of a family and the end of childhood, set against a background that neither the adults of the story and certainly not the child could begin to comprehend. (Sept.)
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