The Forgotten

( 2 )

Overview

Distinguished psychotherapist and survivor Elhanan Rosenbaum is losing his memory to an incurable disease. Never having spoken of the war years before, he resolves to tell his son about his past—the heroic parts as well as the parts that fill him with shame—before it is too late.

Elhanan's story compels his son to go to the Romanian village where the crime that continues to haunt his father was committed. There he encounters the improbable wisdom of a gravedigger who leads him ...

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The Forgotten

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Overview

Distinguished psychotherapist and survivor Elhanan Rosenbaum is losing his memory to an incurable disease. Never having spoken of the war years before, he resolves to tell his son about his past—the heroic parts as well as the parts that fill him with shame—before it is too late.

Elhanan's story compels his son to go to the Romanian village where the crime that continues to haunt his father was committed. There he encounters the improbable wisdom of a gravedigger who leads him to the grave of his grandfather and to the truths that bind one generation to another.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A book of shattering force that offers a message of urgency to a world under the spell of trivia and the tyranny of amnesia."—Chicago Tribune Book World

"A masterful storyteller . . . Wiesel creates a kaleidoscope of images that raise tantalizing questions."
—The Boston Globe

“From the abyss of the death camps he has come as a messenger to mankind—not with a message of hate and revenge, but with one of brotherhood and atonement.”
—From the Citation for the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize
 
“Wiesel uses words to craft literary monuments, works that stand as acts of remembrance and as meditations on the nature of remembrance itself.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Unquestionably, Wiesel is one of the most admirable, indeed indispensable, human beings now writing.”
—The Washington Post
 
“Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man.”
—The New York Review of Books
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nobel Peace Prize winner Wiesel ( Sages and Dreamers ) reprises the themes of memory and forgetting in this almost unbearably moving novel. Elhanan Rosenbaum, one of the few Jews in his Romanian village to have survived WW II, is a widower whose adored wife died giving birth to their only child. Decades later, he is losing his memory to an unspecified illness. Horrified at the possibility that all he has witnessed will be surrendered to oblivion, he entrusts his life's story--and the stories of the people he alone remembers--to his son, Malkiel, a reporter for the New York Times . At Elhanan's request, Malkiel travels to the Carpathian mountains to explore the mysteries that still confound his father. There he pores over the tombstones in the Jewish cemetery, the legacy of a once-thriving community, and meets the gravedigger. In one of the most poignant passages in an already tender novel, the gravedigger tells the story of the Great Reunion: as the Nazis deport the last Jews, the ghosts of the village's rabbinical judges convene to avenge the fate of their now-extinct congregation. Malkiel begins to comprehend the relations between memory and grace, courage and forgiveness. Here and there a sentence sinks into sentimentality (``Twenty years of sun, laughter, a free and savage joy, were inscribed on her fine and angular Oriental face''), but the integrity of Wiesel's respect for history and his recognition of its fragility give this novel an impact simple in its strength and complex in its dimensions. (Apr.)
Library Journal
This novel of the memories of a Holocaust survivor adds substantially to Wiesel's collection of more than 30 works--including essays, plays, cantatas, and novels--in some way related to the destruction of European Jewry. Wiesel's concise, haunting, stark imagery has earned him the title of literary laureate of the Holocaust. Here, survivor Elhanan Rosenbaum, now living in New York and a distinguished professor with a psychiatric practice, is tragically losing his prodigious memory. While he can still remember, he creates a ``backup'' by bequeathing to his son, Malkiel, his stories of the martyred death of his father in his Carpathian village (for whom his son is named); his teenage stint in the army and his return to a ghetto empty of Jews; his adventures in the underground partisan movement; and his love of Talia, the extraordinary woman who rescued him and who died giving birth to his only son. These searing tales, which spur Malkiel on a search of collective past, succesfully link generations together. Wiesel's substantial readership will appreciate the introspection and search for truth in this new work. Recommended for all libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/91.-- Molly Abram owitz, Silver Spring, Md.
Booknews
First published in 1992 by Summit Books, the novel centers on a psychotherapist Holocaust survivor who is losing his memory to an incurable disease. He resolves to tell his son about his past before it is too late, compelling his son to visit the Romanian village where the crime that haunts his father was committed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805210194
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 447,004
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel is the author of more than thirty internationally acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. He is the Andrew Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University. in 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Eliezer Wiesel (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 30, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Sighet, Romania
    1. Education:
      La Sorbonne

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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