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It is the spring of 1939. In months Europe will be Hitler's, and Badenheim, a resort town vaguely in the orbit of Vienna, is preparing for its annual summer season. Soon the vacationers arrive, as they always have, a sample of Jewish middle-class life. The story unfolds as a matter-of-factly as a Chekhov play, its characters so deeply held by their defensive trivia that they manage to misconstrue every signal of their fate, until these signals take on the lineaments of disaster.
"The writing flows seamlessly...a small masterpiece."
Irving Howe, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"As real as Kafka's unnamed Prague...imbued with a Watteau-like melancholy."
Gabriel Annan, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
"Magical...gliding from a kind of romantic realism into universal allegory."
Peter Prescott, NEWSWEEK
"The sorcery of Badenheim 1939 [lies in] the success with which the author has concocted a drab narrative involving rather ordinary characters and made their experienced profoundly symbolic yet never hollow."
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NEW YORK TIMES
Posted November 14, 2005
I would ignore the other review here. What makes this book so powerful and so horrifying is not descriptions of gruesome deaths at the hands of the Nazis, nor descriptions of inhumane conditions of concentration camps, etc. It is the 'unsaid' that makes this book so haunting. This story gives a different perspective of the Holocaust, one that everyone can relate to and one that makes what is happening to these characters all the more real. I highly recommend it!
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Posted November 18, 2001
the book lacks any description of any suffering. it portrays one of the most inhumane events, yet fails to mention suffering at all. this is a disgrace and a trivialization of all the heros who were slaughtered in the concentration camps, (may they rest in peace)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.