Jacob the Liar by Jurek Becker, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Jacob the Liar

Jacob the Liar

5.0 1
by Jurek Becker
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Back in print, here is the classic work from one of the giants of German postwar literature and the basis for the major motion picture Jakob the Liar, starring Robin Williams.

In the ghetto, possession of a radio is punishable by death.

Overview

Back in print, here is the classic work from one of the giants of German postwar literature and the basis for the major motion picture Jakob the Liar, starring Robin Williams.

In the ghetto, possession of a radio is punishable by death.

Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
“A novel about the martyrdom of Europe’s Jews that has never been surpassed.”
The New York Times Book Review
“An unforgettably beautiful novel . . . Cuts to the very heart of human experience.”
Boston Globe
“One of the enduring works of the Shoah . . . This miraculous novel pays profound homage to remembrance.”
The New Yorker
“Creative storytelling . . . Asks us to weigh the human need for hope in all its real and imagined forms.”
Time Magazines Literary Supplement
“A novel about the martyrdom of Europe’s Jews that has never been surpassed.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Twenty-seven years after its initial German publication, this celebrated-and out-of-print-novel of life and death in a Nazi-occupied Jewish ghetto during WW II appears here in the translation authorized by the author, a Jewish Holocaust survivor. In the midst of a morally inverted universe where the monstrously wicked has become utterly commonplace, Jacob Heym, a yellow star on his chest, gives hope to his fellow ghetto occupants by telling them he has clandestinely overheard a radio report that Russian troops are advancing and will soon liberate the ghetto. One life-sustaining lie leads to another as the former eatery owner, who now does back-breaking forced labor in a freight yard, circulates invented radio news of German defeats and Allied progress. Jacob's stories halt a stream of suicides, even though savage beatings, shootings, executions, starvation and deportations to concentration camps continue unabated. In a moving, almost hallucinatory, narrative that gives voice to a grief beyond words, Becker shows us ordinary people struggling to maintain their humanity and dignity. Vennewitz's translation conveys the restraint and emotional power of a story that unfolds with the impact of a moral parable or a folk legend. (Feb.)
Library Journal
It is 1943, and existence for Jews in the ghetto is grim. Deportations in cattle cars have begun, and daily life is overseen by cruel guards who have imposed severe restrictions. Jakob hauls crates for the Germans; most of the semblance of his former life is gone. Because he was out after curfew, he is brought before an official in the German military office, where he overhears a radio (like pets, rings, plants, and clocks, radios are forbidden in the ghetto). From the radio, Jakob learns that Russian tanks are advancing on his town and that the liberators are in fact only 400 kilometers away. This news, which he can't contain, transfixes the ghetto. Suicides stop; weddings are planned. As Jakob is prodded for more news, he begins supplying information from a radio that now exists only in his imagination (hence the title). But though the deportations continue, hope now lives in the ghetto. A masterful novel of European Jews, their plight, and the role of illusion.-- Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, Md.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611457865
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,231,582
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Sander L. Gilman
"Moving, funny, terrifying, and true in tone and heart....The greatest Jewish novel written in post-war Germany is finally available in a translation to match its brilliance and spirit." -- Author of 'Jewish Self Hatred'
Elie Wiesel
"Chellenged by the author's gift for storytelling, the reader will be grateful for Becker's courage to reenter a past that refuses to be feeled."
Lothar Kahn
"One of the neglected masterpieces of Holocaust literature." -- Author of 'Between Two Worlds: History of German-Jewish Literature'

Meet the Author

Jurek Becker was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1937. A Holocaust survivor, he was one of the very few Jews to remain in Germany after the war. He became an internationally acclaimed novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter and died in 1997.

Leila Vennewitz was the distinguished translator of Heinrich Böll and other postwar German writers, including Jurek Becker and Martin Walser. She won numerous awards for her translations. She died in 2007.

Louis Begley is the award-winning author of Wartime Lies, About Schmidt, and many other acclaimed novels and works of nonfiction.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Jacob the Liar 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JPCullen More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for my World Literature Class in College and it was phenomenal! Who knew it would take one person who survived the ghettos of Poland to take this weighty subject matter and turn it into a work of art. Before you read this, please research his life and his reasons and history behind the book itself; it will clear up any questions you have. This book does keep the reality and tension of the subject matter to a T. My review is to not to tell you the story it's for you to understand that this book is essential in the history (Literary history and personal response to) of the Holocaust and the ghettos of Poland