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Regrowth: Seven Tales of Jewish Life Before, During, and After Nazi Occupation (Northwestern World Classics) Paperback – May 5, 2011
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About the Author
Erik Butler is Assistant Professor of German Studies at Emory University.
Top Customer Reviews
Der Nister (the author's pen name, which means "The Hidden One") was already an accomplished writer when he began writing these stories. His literary skill is astonishing. Here, his talents are turned toward a writing task neither he as a young writer nor anyone else could have foreseen.
What's shattering about these stories is the angle from which they view the German encroachment. Der Nister (who later died in a Soviet camp under Stalin) probably never knew the full extent of the Holocaust. He only wrote about what he knew, when he knew it, and he did so with extraordinary skill. His style is poetic yet pellucid, deeply moving but unsentimental. His images are indelible, akin to the razor-sharp precision of Samuel Beckett. His intelligence is felt on every page.
In Der Nister's stories, underneath all the external events--the things most writers would have focused on--pulses the true blood of the story: a vein of perception, confusion,and compassion difficult to describe. There is horror and hatred, sympathy and despair, but also a stubbornness that gives each story a sharpness some readers might find shocking. This is no retrospective story of bad guys and victims. It's a first-hand investigation by a brilliant and talented author of the mental and psychological contortions caused by an event so enormous, so unprecedented, that no one--not even the author--could imagine its ultimate scope.
The translator should be given an award for bringing these stories to light, and for translating them into English for the first time.
This is a different book, I feel parts are very personal because Der Nster lost his only daughter in the blockade of Leningrad. There is a passage there about the burial of the son in one of the stories. I read till that page and it shuttered me to the core, I could not opnen the book again, at least not until now.
The imagination of this writer is an overwhelming gift.