The Shawl

The Shawl

by Cynthia Ozick

Paperback(First Vintage International Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679729266
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1990
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: First Vintage International Edition
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 248,752
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.28(d)

About the Author

Cynthia Ozick, a recipient of a Lannan Award for fiction and a National Book Critics Circle winner for essays, is the author of Trust, The Messiah of Stockholm, The Shawl, and The Puttermesser Papers. She lives in New York.

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The Shawl [With Earbuds] 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing 10 months ago
There are two short stories in this edition, The Shawl and Rosa. Both are stunning and heartbreaking stories of the holocaust. In the first a woman watches, helpless, as a concentration camp guard murders her infant daughter. In the second that same woman is in America living with her memories. I have read many stories of the victims of the holocaust about the terror and bravery, but I don't think I've ever come across one addressing how some dealt with the horror through insanity. Here, Rosa fixates on a shawl that becomes almost magical in its abilities. In a unique way the shawl allows Rosa to keep living even in the face of the unimaginable.I listened to this book on audio and was immediately immersed, transported into the bleak, empty, fierce world of a holocaust survivor. These are short stories at their best, thick and concentrated, demanding your full attention, and leaving you breathless and gasping at the end.
labfs39 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
My copy of this title is the Vintage International edition, which contains both the short story, The Shawl, and the related novella, Rosa. In The Shawl we meet Rosa and Stella, two women walking under guard to a Nazi concentration camp. Wrapped in a shawl and hidden within its folds is Rosa's infant daughter, Magda. Once in the camp, Rosa works to keep Magda hidden from the guards and protect her from Stella's jealousy. The shawl, symbolizing hope, is the magic that allows Magda to live. When the shawl is taken, tragedy inevitably follows.The novella, Rosa, takes place thirty years later. We learn that Rosa has wrecked her successful shop in New York, and Stella has exiled her to a hotel in Miami to live. Rosa lives as a recluse, despite the overtures of an elderly Jewish man named Persky. "My niece Stella," Rosa slowly gave out, "says that in America cats have nine lives, but we-we're less than cats, so we got three. The life before, the life during, the life after." She saw that Persky did not follow. She said, "The life after is now. The life before is our real life, at home, where we were born.""And during?""This was Hitler.""Poor Lublin," Persky said."You wasn't there. From the movies you know it." She recognized that she had shamed him; she had long ago discovered this power to shame. "After, after, that's all Stella cares. For me there's one time only; there's no after."Persky speculated. "You want everything the way it was before.""No, no, no," Rosa said. "It can't be. I don't believe in Stella's cats. Before is a dream. After is a joke. Only during stays. And to call it a life is a lie."Rosa is unable to move forward, unable to forget, and dependent on the shawl as a device for bringing her beloved Magda to life. This is a sad story on many levels: Rosa's psychological damage incurred during the Holocaust, her continued tortured relationship with Stella, the meager life she leads, and her prejudices as a formerly wealthy, assimilated Polish Jew against the Yiddish speaking Jews of Eastern Europe. This story reminds us that although the concentration camps of the Holocaust were liberated, not everyone was able to leave them.
auntmarge64 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is the kind of writing readers hope to find and savor. Each word is evocative and perfect, and in 70 pages Ozick gives us what other authors struggle to do in hundreds: a story and character we'll never forget and always treasure. Thank you, thank you, labfs39 for recommending this!!!The book opens with a short story limning the experience of Rosa, who, with her 14-year old niece (Stella) and infant daughter (Magda), is force-marched from Warsaw to a death camp. In a thoughtless act of self-preservation, Stella brings about events which ruin Rose's and Magda's lives. The second story, a novella, picks up Rosa's life as a crazy older woman living in Miami years later. She is supported from New York by Stella, who alternately berates her and encourages her to get on with her life. But as crazy as she is, Rosa often seems to be the one who truly sees reality. For anyone thinking this will be a depressing read, I can only say, "give it a try". By the end of the short story you won't be able to forego reading about Rosa's future. Simply gorgeous storytelling.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
There are two short stories in this edition, The Shawl and Rosa. Both are stunning and heartbreaking stories of the holocaust. In the first a woman watches, helpless, as a concentration camp guard murders her infant daughter. In the second that same woman is in America living with her memories.

I have read many stories of the victims of the holocaust about the terror and bravery, but I don't think I've ever come across one addressing how some dealt with the horror through insanity. Here, Rosa fixates on a shawl that becomes almost magical in its abilities. In a unique way the shawl allows Rosa to keep living even in the face of the unimaginable.

I listened to this book on audio and was immediately immersed, transported into the bleak, empty, fierce world of a holocaust survivor. These are short stories at their best, thick and concentrated, demanding your full attention, and leaving you breathless and gasping at the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for my History class in which we are doing an in- depth study of the Holocaust. In my life I have always been interested by books about survivors of concentration camps, but when I read ' The Shawl' it really opened my eyes. It wasn't the slightly sterotyped account that we sometimes tend to see but a moving depiction of how survivors' experiences affect them and their families for many years to come. I thought that this book was excellent. It told the story of Rosa, Magda, and Stella with such grace it is hard to believe that it is about the Holocaust. The writing lends more depth to the story. In the end, I would recommend this book to anyone. It may be hard to read because of its moral implications, but it is well worth it.