Psalm 44

Overview

Psalm 44 is the last major work of fiction by Danilo Kiš to be translated into English, and his only novel dealing explicitly with Auschwitz (where his own father died). Written when he was only twenty-five, before embarking on the masterpieces that would make him an integral figure in twentieth-century letters, Psalm 44 shows Kiš at his most lyrical and unguarded, demonstrating that even in "the place of dragons... covered with the shadow of death," there can still be poetry. Featuring characters based on actual...

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Overview

Psalm 44 is the last major work of fiction by Danilo Kiš to be translated into English, and his only novel dealing explicitly with Auschwitz (where his own father died). Written when he was only twenty-five, before embarking on the masterpieces that would make him an integral figure in twentieth-century letters, Psalm 44 shows Kiš at his most lyrical and unguarded, demonstrating that even in "the place of dragons... covered with the shadow of death," there can still be poetry. Featuring characters based on actual inmates and warders — including the abominable Dr. Mengele — Psalm 44 is a baring of many of the themes, patterns, and preoccupations Kiš would return to in future, albeit never with the same starkness or immediacy.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Written when the author was 25 and receiving its first English translation now, this novel has the feeling of an apprentice work by a writer of great promise. Though Jakob and Marija are inmates in a concentration camp during WWII, Jakob’s medical training makes him valuable to their captors. Marija has had their child and is plotting to escape, along with other prisoners, with the help of the elusive Maks who “she had still never seen but who had existed for her for months now as a synonym for salvation.” There are many fine details, such as when the camp inmates, despite their misery, sing a song entitled “The Girl I Adore,” but the book is unfocused and, even though it clocks in at well under 200 pages, too long. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564787620
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Danilo Kis was one of Serbia's most influential writers and the author of several novels and short-story collections, including A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, The Encyclopedia of the Dead, and Hourglass. In 1980 Kis was awarded the Grand Aigle d'Or from the city of Nice. He died in 1989 at the age of 54.

John K. Cox is professor of history and department head at North Dakota State University. His translations include fiction by Ismail Kadare, Ivan Ivanji, Ivo Andrić, and Meša Selimović. His own books include The History of Serbia and Slovenia: Evolving Loyalties, as well as the forthcoming Understanding Ismail Kadare.

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