A Scrap of Time

Overview

A Scrap of Time is a haunting collection of stories about life in Poland during World War II. These shattering stories describe the lives of ordinary people as they are compelled to do the unimaginable: a couple who must decide what to do with their five-year-old daughter as the Gestapo come to march them out of town; a wife whose safety depends on her acquiescence in her husband's love affair; a girl who must pay a grim price for an Aryan identity card.
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Overview

A Scrap of Time is a haunting collection of stories about life in Poland during World War II. These shattering stories describe the lives of ordinary people as they are compelled to do the unimaginable: a couple who must decide what to do with their five-year-old daughter as the Gestapo come to march them out of town; a wife whose safety depends on her acquiescence in her husband's love affair; a girl who must pay a grim price for an Aryan identity card.
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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
Translated from the Polish by Madeline Levine and Francine Prose, this collection of stories about life in Poland during World War II focuses on the mundane details of survival.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The tension evoked by these 23 seminal Holocaust tales, deftly translated from Polish, is sharpened by their brevity and lack of sentimentality. This is a jarring, powerful debut by a 66-year-old Israeli author who escaped from a Polish ghetto during the Nazi occupation and lived underground throughout the war's duration. Fink, who records the memories of Holocaust survivors at Yad Vashem, bases her stories on authentic, partially autobiographical material, focusing on the excruciating uncertainty of Jews in hiding rather than death camp physical atrocities. In the title story, the narrator's young cousin abandons his hiding place during an ``action'' or roundup: ``That impatience of the heart, that trembling of the nerves, the burden of isolation, condemned him to extermination.'' Make-believe has a real-life ulterior motive in ``The Key Game''; parents train their three-year-old son to pretend and tell outsiders that his father, who is evading deportation, is dead. And in ``A Conversation,'' a couple's safety hangs on the wife's acquiescence to the husband's love affair with their Christian protector. A number of stories keenly depict the pariah status of survivors at the war's end. In ``The Shelter,'' well-meaning peasants horrify their Jewish friends because they have included a hiding-place for them in their newly built home ``just in case something happens.'' (July)
Library Journal
Stories told by a survivor about events in Poland at the time of the Holocaust make up this devastating collection. With masterful foreshadowing (the reader knows what annihilation will occur) Fink portrays the lives of ordinary people as they are forced to confront the unimaginable. In the title story, a recent New Yorker selection, the author writes of a roundup of Jews in her peaceful village that she and her sister witnessed as they skipped stones on the Gniezna River. Another story tells of a couple who must decide what to do with their five-year-old daughter as the Gestapo comes to march them out of town. The death camps are a looming presence here, though they are never depicted and rarely mentioned; a tenuous balance between power and restraint is sustained. Highly recommended. Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394558066
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/12/1987
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Pages: 192

Table of Contents

A Scrap of Time 3
The Garden That Floated Away 11
Behind the Hedge 15
***** 23
A Dog 25
Jean-Christophe 31
The Key Game 35
A Spring Morning 39
A Conversation 49
The Black Beast 53
Aryan Papers 63
Inspector von Galoshinsky 69
The Pig 79
Titina 83
Night of Surrender 93
The Tenth Man 103
Crazy 107
Jump! 111
The Other Shore 117
Splinter 123
The Shelter 127
Traces 135
The Table 139
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