- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 2, 2007
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000PSJBFC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Ministry of Special Cases: A Novel Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The search for their son leads Lillian to Argentina's Ministry of Special cases, where hundreds of people line up and fight for information about missing loved ones, and are frustrated by bureaucratic dead-ends. Worse than the government's unswerving apathy toward Kaddish and Lillian is the fearfully uncaring attitude that they find from general citizens they turn to for assistance. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own problems to care about the Poznan's plight - and much too afraid of losing their own family if they anger the government.Read more ›
When I began reading the book, I had to stop and start over. I couldn't believe what I was reading. It's almost as though Hamlet started with the grave digger's scene.
How can I summarize this book? I'm not sure I can do so accurately, but I'll hit some of the right notes of I call this book Don Quixote at The Trial. In the process, Mr. Englander unerringly portrays a society that's failing because each person only wants to look out for himself or herself.
You will find yourself in Argentina during the beginning of the "dirty war" when many young people disappeared. What would it like to be a parent of such a young person? That's what you will graphically experience by reading The Ministry of Special Cases.
Kaddish Poznan was conceived through an accident between his prostitute mother and a customer. The rabbi granted Kaddish such an unusual name in hopes it would protect him. As the book evolves, you'll see that the name has indeed shaped his character as well as his actions. Many of the "respectable" Jews in Argentina at the time had forbearers who also engaged in illicit and illegal activities, while sporting colorful names such as Hezzi Two-Blades.
Kaddish has been looking for the big score all of his life, but hasn't found it.Read more ›
One novel--the first half--is a family drama featuring Kaddish Poznan, who lives a blithely contented life as an outcast from Buenos Aires's "respectable" Jewish society and who hires himself out to upper-crust families who want to expunge the evidence of their less-than-reputable ancestors. Kaddish, a somewhat endearing buffoon always on the cusp of becoming rich (or so he thinks), lives with his long-suffering wife, Lillian, who provides her family with a more reliable source of income by working in an insurance office, and a son, Paco, a university student embarrassed by his father's uncouthness.
Englander has most often been compared to I. B. Singer, and with reason: Kaddish would feel right at home in a Polish shtetl or in an Upper West Side diner, and the familial strife is torn right from the pages of "The Family Moskat." Yet the conflict between father and son couldn't possibly lead more suddenly and seamlessly from what David Roskies has called the "demonic realism" of a Singer tale to the Kafkaesque terror in the second half of the book. Kaddish and Lillian are forced from the parochialism of their neighborhood into the claustrophobic hallways of a malicious bureaucracy and the dark-lit alleys of a frightened city. The familial nightmare rends Kaddish and Lillian, who had always lived in a fragile harmony and who choose separate paths to determine their son's fate.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very exciting book in the second half. If you have interest in Jewish Latin America, the Junta years, this is a must-read
the first half is slow moving but it picks up... Read more
I read this book two times and think it is brilliant. Englander has wit and depth and, in his offbeat way, has captured the horrors of The Dirty War.Published 6 months ago by Susan M Grosz
couldn't read more than a few pages, since there was nothing about it that drew me in. Really not worth my time.Published 20 months ago by Marion Lipton
Great description of characters and setting. Unfortunately, I know the basis of the story is true. The ending was sad.Published 20 months ago by Nanci R Gerstman
I read the first chapter twice-as I'd did with his, "What We Really Talk About ...." The narrative unfolds in an unusual, complicated, intense, way. Read morePublished 21 months ago by EB
This book enables you to understand the time frame of the plot. The political regime that was in power and eliminated people. Strong plot that will move you. Loved the bookPublished 22 months ago by moroziris
For all of us who turn our backs on the brutalities of governments...the cruelties engendered by fear...this heartfelt novel is a reminder and an unrelenting indictment. Read morePublished 22 months ago by joan allen
It seems as if I'd always known about "los desaparecidos," but as a distant historical event, something that happened to someone else, a long time ago and far away. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Larry Benjamin