Thomas Keneally's book Schindler's List
was the basis for the Spielberg movie of the same title. Now Keneally retraces his steps in writing the book, and Metek Pemper, one of Schindler's survivors, tells his role in the mission.
Searching for Schindler: A Memoir
, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-52617-3
Australian author Keneally was awarded the 1982 Booker Prize for his novel Schindler's List
. How Keneally came to write that novel about Oskar Schindler's rescue of more than a thousand Jews from the Holocaust is a tale that, curiously enough, began in Beverly Hills while the author was promoting his Civil War novel, Confederates
. Looking for a new briefcase, he entered a luggage shop owned by the ebullient, charismatic Leopold “Poldek” Pfefferberg, one of Schindler's survivors. Poldek gave Keneally copies of documents he had once assembled for a Schindler film that was never made. Nan Talese, then at Simon & Schuster, offered a $60,000 advance for a book, and Keneally and Poldek left on an international research expedition. That journey and the survivors they met form the compelling centerpiece of this moving memoir. With publication, the question arose as to whether Schindler's List
was a novel or history, but Keneally had planned from the start to write “what Truman Capote or his publisher had called faction.” The closing chapters cover the making of Steven Spielberg's 1993 film adaptation, which won seven Academy Awards. Photos. (Oct. 14)