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Early Sorrows (For Children and Sensitive Readers)

Overview

Early Sorrows centers on Andreas Sam, a highly intelligent boy whose life at first seems secure. His mother and sister dote on him; he excels at school; when he is hired out as a cowherd to help with the family's finances, he reads the day away in the company of his best friend, the dog. He can only sense that terrible things may be going on in the world. Soon soldiers are marching down the road, and then one day, many people from the village are herded together and taken away, ...
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Overview

Early Sorrows centers on Andreas Sam, a highly intelligent boy whose life at first seems secure. His mother and sister dote on him; he excels at school; when he is hired out as a cowherd to help with the family's finances, he reads the day away in the company of his best friend, the dog. He can only sense that terrible things may be going on in the world. Soon soldiers are marching down the road, and then one day, many people from the village are herded together and taken away, among them, his father, the dreamer.
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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
[Kis] mixes irony and lyricism to convey the tragedy of the Holocaust and Stalinism.
Jaroslaw Anders
...[A]n exquisite translation by Michael Henry Heim...Reading these sad and poetic talesone begins to suspect that this is not the whole story...that there is a ghastly mystery lurking somewhere within the folds of the narrative. —The New Republic
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Never before translated into English, this collection of interconnected stories, originally published in Belgrade in 1969, form the poignant, lightly fictionalized account of the acclaimed late novelist's boyhood in Yugoslavia. With a remarkable combination of affection, whimsy and wretchedness, these 19 lyrical, very short stories tell a recurring tale of spiritual innocence tainted by shame and the terror of life in hiding. In addition to his finesse with language and sensory detail, Kis succeeds at rendering a precocious child's struggle to comprehend the world. In the characteristic "The Game," a father hiding his Jewish origins is proud but unnerved when he catches his fair-haired son pretending to be a Jewish feather merchant, like the grandfather whom the boy has never seen. Frightened by the uncanny spectacle, the boy's gentile mother spins a bedtime tale that subtly informs the boy of racism and its mortal consequences. In each brief vignette, the boy contemplates his own disappearance and death, which he sees foreshadowed in his father's deportation to Auschwitz. Though its subtitle pitches the book to a relatively limited audience, Kis's slim work will touch vestigial nerves in most readers. (Oct.)
Jaroslaw Anders
...[A]n exquisite translation by Michael Henry Heim...Reading these sad and poetic tales, one begins to suspect that this is not the whole story...that there is a ghastly mystery lurking somewhere within the folds of the narrative.
The New Republic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811213905
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 942,714
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

In Autumn When the Winds Come Up 1
The Castle Lit by the Sun 5
Chestnut Street 15
The Game 21
The Pogrom 29
A Story that Will Make You Blush 33
Serenade for Anna 39
The Meadow, in Autumn 41
Engaged To Be Married 47
The Meadow 55
The Cats 59
Getting Deloused 63
A Mushroom Story 67
Pears 71
The Horses 73
The Man Who Came from Afar 79
Pages from a Velvet Album 83
The Boy and the Dog 97
The Aeolian Harp 109
Birth Certificate (A Short Autobiography) 115
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