Wartime Lies

Wartime Lies

4.7 8
by Louis Begley
     
 

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"Extraordinary...Rich in irony and regret...[the] people and settings are vividly realized and his prose [is] compelling in its simplicity."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek's once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the… See more details below

Overview

"Extraordinary...Rich in irony and regret...[the] people and settings are vividly realized and his prose [is] compelling in its simplicity."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek's once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the war, running, hiding, changing their names, forging documents to secure their temporary lives—as the insistent drum of the Nazi march moves ever closer to them and to their secret wartime lies.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An orphaned nine-year-old and his sharp-tongued aunt pose as Catholic Poles to hide their Jewish identity from the Nazis in this haunting, powerful Holocaust novel, which was nominated for a National Book Award and chosen as one of PW 's best books of 1991. (July)
Library Journal
The teller of this tale reveres the Aeneid because ``that is where he first found civil expression for his own shame at being alive, skin intact and virgin of tattoo, when his kinsmen and almost all the others, so many surely more deserving than he, perished in the conflagration.'' Indeed, this seems a very real attempt on the part of the author to expurgate, or at least come to terms with, a sense of guilt that has haunted him throughout his life and to reflect on the lingering impact of evil on individual lives. Survival in wartime often requires compromise, but for a young Jewish boy and his aunt, survival in wartime Poland requires a total suspension of identity. It is the ultimate act of theater, requiring a careful and constant denial of one's heritage. For the child, the tragedy is that suspension becomes loss: ``He became an embarrassment and slowly died. A man who bears one of the names Maciek used has replaced him. . . . Our man has no childhood he can bear to remember.'' A moving addition to Holocaust literature and one well recommended.-- David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804109901
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1992
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
181
Product dimensions:
4.23(w) x 6.81(h) x 0.49(d)

What People are saying about this

Jean Strouse
An artful, beautifully written novel that tells the powerful story of a boy and his aunt -- Polish Jews -- caught in the horrors of the Holocaust. Alone together, these two manage to survive the unbearable, saving their lives with mundane and brilliant lies.
Daniel Aaron
Spare and beautifully written...Wartime Lies is a meditation on the human capacity for every kind of abomination and for self-sacrifice and heroism as well.
Cynthia Ozick
A virtuoso (and virtuous) accomplishment...What Lewis Begley's vividly austere prose embodies is an immaculate act of witness in the form of a novel...Begley raises fresh and rich question about quarry and hunter, volition and obedience, decency and ideology.

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