Eloquently translated from the Hebrew, and written by the child of Holocaust survivors, this haunting first novel, a prizewinner in Israel, brings the history very close now. Why the panic when someone knocks at the door? Why does crazy Uncle Hirsch ask obsessively, "Only saints were gassed?" Always there is the dark humor of the old folks' grudges, miserliness, and daily lunacy. The kids are forbidden to ask about past secrets, but when they are "Old Enough," they hear the horrific memories in graphic detail. The spare accounts of unspeakable brutality, suffering, and sacrifice stay with you, and so do the big questions. The savagery of Nazi criminals is documented; why have so many never been punished? And what about the officials who were only doing their jobs? As the narrator fetches his kid from kindergarten today, he wonders about the people on the street: Who could be collaborator, informer, loyal soldier, killer, rescuer? With the arbitrariness of the survival stories, there is the inescapable truth that ordinary people made it happen. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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