"Ruth Franklin's new book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, is more than a towering work of criticism and insight it's an invaluable corrective."
"By scrupulously defending the integrity of literature, Ms. Franklin has offered her own eloquent testimony."
Wall Street Journal
"Franklin explicates her central ideas with a piercing, graceful lucidity... a beautiful book that addresses the ugliest of subjects, proving, once more, that it can be done."
"This text is superbly written and offers insightful analysis."
"Ruth Franklin's keen analysis makes a major contribution to the literary criticism of Shoah writers, and her humane perspective renders the nuances of a fraught subject newly comprehensible."
Jewish Book Council
"...an honest effort to inject a little good sense and judgment into an understandably emotional subject."
Jewish Literary Review
"...a brilliant, challenging and surprising work."
"What A Thousand Darknesses does do, and does very well, is challenge us on every level of virtually every aspect of Holocaust literature. That the Holocaust is 'unknowable' doesn't mean that a lot of it can't be known. Literature lays bare the path to know what is knowable, and Franklin neatly shows us the way."
The Jewish Daily Forward
"A Thousand Darknesses succeeds in forming a coherent whole that makes a powerful argument for the propriety of treating the Holocaust as a wellspring of literary art."
"Franlin is particularly astute in evaluating why the grayness of truth is important in a Holocaust work... Not merely about the Holocaust, but about why we study history, why we read, and why we tell stories."
The Literary Review
"[An] important work...Lucid, persuasive...Highly recommended."CHOICE
"Franklin's work of Holocaust literary criticism is excellent in its interpretations and a valuable read."Cynthia Crane, H-Net Reviews
There are strong and conflicting viewpoints when it comes to recounting the Holocaust in fiction, and Franklin (senior editor, New Republic) does an excellent job of presenting all sides of the issue. Many believe that writing fictional literature or poetry about this event if it wasn't experienced firsthand is akin to blasphemy. Alternatively, a second school of thought posits that silence could be worse, and that accurately rendered literary versions might better engage readers, potentially assisting them in comprehending an otherwise incomprehensible event. Indeed, even within the most famous of memoirs, accounts have been substantially edited or updated, which additionally brings into question how much creative license the autobiographers themselves should have. In her reasoned discussion of this charged topic, Franklin covers many important writers of both fact (e.g., Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi) and fiction (e.g., W.G. Sebald, Jerzy Kosinski). Another aspect she introduces is the right (or duty) of second and even third generations—of which Franklin is one—to assume the legacy of communicating their ancestors' experiences. VERDICT This text is superbly written and offers insightful analysis. Geared for the academically minded, it is an ideal addition to any college-level program in Holocaust studies.—Judy Brink-Drescher, Molloy Coll. Lib., Rockville Centre, NY