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Early Sorrows (For Children and Sensitive Readers) Hardcover – October 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation; 1st edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811213900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811213905
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Never before translated into English, this collection of interconnected stories, originally published in Belgrade in 1969, form the poignant, lightly fictionalized account of the acclaimed late novelist's boyhood in Yugoslavia. With a remarkable combination of affection, whimsy and wretchedness, these 19 lyrical, very short stories tell a recurring tale of spiritual innocence tainted by shame and the terror of life in hiding. In addition to his finesse with language and sensory detail, Kis succeeds at rendering a precocious child's struggle to comprehend the world. In the characteristic "The Game," a father hiding his Jewish origins is proud but unnerved when he catches his fair-haired son pretending to be a Jewish feather merchant, like the grandfather whom the boy has never seen. Frightened by the uncanny spectacle, the boy's gentile mother spins a bedtime tale that subtly informs the boy of racism and its mortal consequences. In each brief vignette, the boy contemplates his own disappearance and death, which he sees foreshadowed in his father's deportation to Auschwitz. Though its subtitle pitches the book to a relatively limited audience, Kis's slim work will touch vestigial nerves in most readers.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The New Yorker

[A] subtle, heroic collection of connected stories...The coming horror [of World War II] is just beneath Kis's gently swelling prose.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By B. Berthold on May 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Danilo Kis had but two stories to tell: the Holocaust (through a child`s eyes) and the mystery of his enigmatic father. These themes echo through every word Kis ever put to the page.

`Early Sorrows,` Kis`collection of short stories for `children and sensitive readers, ` is no exception. Like `garden, ashes,` Kis` masterly novel, `Sorrows` revolves around a precocious boy`s loss of innocence in a world dissolving into dark madness. The boy of both works, Andreas Sam, is a thinly-disguised Danilo himself, child of a Hungarian-Jewish father and Montenegrin Serbian mother, who finds himself beached upon the arid plains of Horthy`s Hungary. What makes both `Sorrows` and `ashes` such powerful works is how Kis so adroitly maneuvers the monstrous into the everyday. Never is the coming catastrophe (Hitler`s occupation of Hungary and the subsequent deportation of almost its entire Jewish population to Auschwitz) touched upon, rather it looms ominously on the horizon like some black storm cloud ready to burst over the puszta. Andreas, with his heightened childish sensitivity, senses early on the impending doom.

Andreas` immediate world is peopled with a doting mother, an annoying sister, and of course, the mesmerizing, yet unknowable father. And of course there are Andreas` school chums, the obligatory first love, but most of all, there are Andreas` real soul mates, the cats, dogs, and cows that surround him morning and night. These delicately crafted stories all focus on the sacred bonds forged between a child and his four-legged playmates, both equally victimized by adults.

Those who have read `garden, ashes` know the pyrotechnics of Kis` detail-rich prose. Here though, his style is more restrained and even-tempered.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mirjana Vukovic on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Kis was born in my country. This book is the most beautifool story about growing and knowing what life is. He learned very early that there is no justice in the warld, even in cats warld. It is significant story of meaning of time.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating book is reading material for all ages andgenders. Kis has managed to bring topics we have long forgotten to ourmind. Is this book for children only? No. This book provides intriguing material for thought especially for adults who have figured out what life is all about.
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