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Beyond Despair: Three Lectures and a Conversation With Philip Roth

Beyond Despair: Three Lectures and a Conversation With Philip Roth

by Aharon Appelfeld, Jeffrey M. Green (Translator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In three short, cogent lectures, originally delivered at Columbia University in 1991, eminent Israeli novelist Appelfeld analyzes with great sensitivity the psychology of Holocaust survivors. Many, he writes, suppressed their memories of their ordeal for years, in silent protest against suffering and fate. In some survivors, self-blame, rage and anguish coexisted, often directed outward in practical activity. Appelfeld is reticent about his own Holocaust experience. Born in Bukovina (now part of Romania), he was deported to a Nazi work camp when the war broke out. Escaping, he hid for years in forests, then wandered across the ruins of Europe, arriving in Palestine in 1946 at the age of 14; both his parents were victims of the Nazis. These horrors tested but did not destroy his religious faith, he reveals. Also included is a 1988 interview with Philip Roth in which Appelfeld discusses Kafka, Hebrew, life in Israel and the relationship between his parable-like novels and historical reality. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Israeli author Appelfeld ( Katerina , LJ 6/1/92, among many others) survived the Holocaust in the forests of Europe and then made his way to Israel. These three lectures and an interview with Philip Roth discuss various aspects of the Holocaust experience and Jewish life and literature. One of the more compelling ideas in the work is that literature is an escape from memory, a memory that is impossible to handle as a plain narrative. Appelfeld here describes the Holocaust as a human experience and explores the various ways the survivors have responded to it. He also examines the nature of pre-World War II Jewish assimilation and the Holocaust experience as a spiritual encounter. He reveals to Roth that Kafka's works were a major influence on his writing and brings out the complex nature of the modern Jewish experience. Recommended for literature and Jewish studies collections. For a review of his latest novel, Unto the Soul , see p. 157.--Ed.-- Gene Shaw, NYPL
Denise Perry Donavin
Within this slim, overwhelming volume are three speeches delivered by Aharon Appelfeld and an interview by Philip Roth conducted in Israel and originally printed in the "New York Times Book Review". Appelfeld describes his lectures as "reflections . . . grounded in the tribulations of a Holocaust childhood, wanderings and displacement across the ruins of Europe after the Second World War--and a belated childhood in Israel." Despite his insistence that the horrors of the Holocaust are too ghastly to speak or to write about, Appelfeld recognizes the necessity for such discourse and describes the painful process of sharing his experiences. Roth's sensitive questions provide a perfect closure to the cogent lectures.

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Fromm International Publishing Corporation
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Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.68(d)

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