The Boxer: A Novelby Jurek Becker
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Released from a concentration camp after the war, Aron Blank looks for and eventually finds the only other surviving member of his family, his son Mark, whom he was forced to abandon when Mark was only two years old. Working first in the black market and later as a Russian interpreter, Aron tries to rebuild a normal life for himself and his son in East Berlin. Decades later, with Mark lost in the Six-Day War, Aron tells his story to a young interviewer—the flow of his poignant narrative occasionally interrupted by their brief exchanges, which are peppered with humor. Written with the understated elegance that brought Becker worldwide acclaim for Jacob the Liar, this is a rare portrait of Jewish life in postwar Germany and a profoundly human story of survival, friendship, and fatherly love.
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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.
Alessandra Bastagli is the translator of Primo Levi's stories in A Tranquil Star and his essays in The Complete Works. She lives in New York.
Ruth Franklin is a contributing editor at The New Republic and the author of A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction.
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Becker's novel differs from most Holocaust fiction in that it concerns itself with the subject's life after the war is over and the concentration camps liberated. Framed as a kind of interview, the novel gives us both interviewer and interviewee in a text that moves fairly fluidly between the two in its focus. The survivor wants to find his youngest child--a son who also lived through the war--and try to create a new life with him. The novel is a backwards glance over the man's life, long after the events have already transpired. Smartly written; not a page-turner, but rather an investigation into a damaged life.