Life with a Star

Life with a Star

by Jiri Weil
     
 

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In Nazi-occupied Prague, ex-bank clerk Josef Roubick discovers that the prosaic world he has always inhabited is suddenly off-limits to him because he is a Jew. When he begins to observe his new, increasingly skewed, and macabre environment with resigned detachment, his life becomes centered on survival and on the surprisingly small things he clings to in order to

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Overview

In Nazi-occupied Prague, ex-bank clerk Josef Roubick discovers that the prosaic world he has always inhabited is suddenly off-limits to him because he is a Jew. When he begins to observe his new, increasingly skewed, and macabre environment with resigned detachment, his life becomes centered on survival and on the surprisingly small things he clings to in order to persevere.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This slim, wartime classic was written in the mid-1940s when the author's experiences during the Holocaust were still fresh; the ``star'' of the title refers of course to the Star of David European Jews under Hitler were forced to wear. It opens as the narrator, a former bank teller named Josef Roubicek, is waiting to be called up for deportation to Terezin, the notorious concentration camp in eastern Czechoslovakia. Instead, he is given a ``classification four''--unsuited to hard labor--and is assigned by the authorities to sweep leaves in a Prague cemetery. Here, Roubicek begins a surreal existence as the author contrasts the peacefulness of the cemetery with the increasing persecution of the Jews still left in the city. A weak, vacillating character at the start of the narrative, Roubicek matures. Unlike many friends who contemplate suicide, he decides to embrace hope--and life--and with the help of a resistance fighter goes underground. Weil (1900-1959) builds his drama through a series of telling vignettes; in one pathetic scene a doll cries ``Mama'' as toys of Jewish children are carted off to a warehouse. Powerful, yet small in scope, this is as much an indictment of materialism--and greed--as it is a chilling portrait of Nazi-occupied Prague. In the preface, Roth explains how he was made aware of this ``outstanding'' book. He was in strumental in its publication here. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810116856
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1998
Series:
Jewish Lives
Edition description:
1
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,117,466
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.70(d)

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