"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
Posts tagged "Holocaust"
Over the line

Over the line

All writers should plant sleeper agents in bookshops, to be activated when their novel starts to peep over the parapet. I am fortunate to have the wonderful Mr B’s Reading Emporium just around the corner from me, and have been receiving coded signals about my debut novel, Testament. “It’s appeared on the system!” “It’s available...
Recapturing infinity in the present

Recapturing infinity in the present

“Am I the same person?” asks Fela Rosenbloom, whose narrative of her early life in Łódź, and her internment in no fewer than six German labour and concentration camps, prefaces her husband’s longer, very different account of the 20th century. Miracles Do Happen is a joint memoir of war, Jewish life, community and identity, survival...
The truth of the lie

The truth of the lie

“The duty of art (or of thought) consists in showing us the complexity of existence in order to make us more complex, in examining the mechanics of evil, so that we may avoid it, and even the mechanics of good, perhaps so we may understand them”. This is Javier Cercas’ declaration of intent at the...
Steven Uhly: A life of encounters

Steven Uhly: A life of encounters

The chance to converse with Steven Uhly is not just a meeting but a real and even formative encounter, a moment of wisdom, laughter, serious and relaxed humanity. He is someone with a very distinct presence, ineradicable and self-effacing at the same time, poetic and materially concrete. He exudes indomitable strength and very serene, reflective...
The hydra of memory and forgetting

The hydra of memory and forgetting

“If you have no wounds, how can you know you are alive?” wrote Edward Albee in 1998’s The Play About the Baby. Steven Uhly’s Kingdom of Twilight could be said to be all about physical, psychological and historical wounds and about the true meaning of knowing oneself to be alive – the true worth of...
Reclaiming both past and future

Reclaiming both past and future

Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben ist barbarisch – it is barbaric to write verses after Auschwitz – is Theodor Adorno’s famous, massively quoted and frequently misunderstood 1951 declaration about the state, the potential and the responsibility of a life of the mind, of the voice of any spirit and intellect, after what Joseph Roth...
A mirage of horrors

A mirage of horrors

“Our language lacks words to express this offence, the demolition of a man.” Primo Levi The question of how one writes, thinks or speaks about the holocaust and the ideologies and sociohistorical conditions that spawned it, is perhaps as vital now as it was in the direct aftermath of a period when the word ‘hell’...
Jim Shepard: Some kind of hero

Jim Shepard: Some kind of hero

Jim Shepard’s The Book of Aron is a remarkable portrait of the complicated nature of heroism and courage in the face of human atrocity. His fictional commemoration of philanthropist and children’s educator-activist Dr Janusz Korczak is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy forced to live on his wits, who ends up in Korczak’s...
Boris Fishman: Believable lies

Boris Fishman: Believable lies

Boris Fishman’s engaging debut novel A Replacement Life offers a critical and affectionate portrait of the Russian-American immigrant community that clusters around South Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach. Slava Gelman is a lowly hack on a New Yorker-style magazine whose grandfather suggests an outrageous writing assignment: to forge a Holocaust restitution claim. His grandmother, an actual Holocaust...
Recompense

Recompense

“Something I need you to look at,” Grandfather said, pointing to the bedroom. “We’re both tired. Let’s do it another day,” Slava said, wanting to return to the living room. “Another day with you?” Grandfather said. “Another day with you is a year from now. The deadline is soon. It’ll take only a moment.” Grandfather...