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Schlepping Through the Alps: My Search for Austria's Jewish Past with Its Last Wandering Shepherd Paperback – March 28, 2006
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“This marvelously alert, one-of-a-kind book fascinates by virtue of its eccentric honesty, humor, warmth, and intelligence. Sam Apple’s writing style sparkles, and the two brilliantly achieved, richly sympathetic characterizations at the heart of the book–the singing shepherd and the author himself–make for a dazzlingly satisfying read. I absolutely loved it.”
“At its best, Apple’s narrative voice is as grave as W.G. Sebald’s while as self-deprecating as a poetic version of Woody Allen’s. Europe in the wake of the Holocaust is risky material. I know of no other American of Apple’s generation writing non-fiction who has attempted as subtle and oblique an approach as this.”
–HONOR MOORE, author of The White Blackbird
“In this wonderful book, Sam Apple has written a brilliantly comic and very dark pastorale about shepherds, Nazis and Jews, modern-day Austria, love and fidelity, and he has done it with such subtlety–with bright colors at the center and darkness around all the edges–that the effect is quite singular. I have never read a book quite like this, and I loved it; it’s that simple.”
–CHARLES BAXTER, author of Saul and Patsy: A Novel and Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Regardless, it's unlike anything I've read before, and I would highly recommend it.
Even though the book has a rather weak ending I enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone as a good example of how neurotics can be interesting people and how they can survive in a complex and often hostile environment.
The comedy is the story of Hans Breuer, a folk-singing grand-child of the radical sixties. In the middle of the world's most developed economy, he makes a living as a shepherd: a Jewish shepherd.Sam Apple, the author of this book, plays with the nature of the shepherd's life, the mercurial personality of Hans Breuer and the odd business of being Jewish in a country where killing Jews was a bit of a national sport.
Having spent a great deal of time in Vienna, I can tell you that Apple gets a great deal of this right. He certainly gets all of it funny, or at least wry. He concentrates on lingering old-fashioned anti-semetism and ignores both the small philo-semetic counter-trend and the more genteel neo-jew-hating of the left.
Apple spends a great deal of his time talking about himself and so the book is also partly a memoir. The self that he reveals is game for the adventure of being a shepard for a while, but also comically neurotic and thereby a bit unattractive.
On one of my last trips to Austria, I went to a Hans Breuer recital. It was at a bar in the countryside. Half the audience was out from Vienna, the other half local people having dinner. Breuer seemed to think he was in a concert hall and between songs went back in the kitchen to silence the cooks. It was an awkward moment, but one that seemed to fit.
Lynn Hoffman, Author of The New Short Course in Wine
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A quirky, but also serious tale of a Jewish Sheepherder in Austria. Very insightful about the status of Jews in this country.Published 6 months ago by Boston Terrier Mama
Presents a complex situation without drawing "preachy" conclusions. Funny, honest, entertaining. I stayed up the entire night finishing the book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Wynsum Hatton
Wonderful story written to read with easy and entertain as well as inform!Published 18 months ago by J. Brackett
I would have preferred less adolescent self talk about the author and more about the singing Shepherd Hans Breuer.
This was a delightful book that in many ways defies description. How does any modern person know what to expect about guiding sheep through the mountains?Published 23 months ago by A. Schwab
I loved the book! It transported me to idyllic scenes, and odd but funny and sometimes sad conversations. Totally readable!Published on May 21, 2014 by S. Klein
I totally agree with one of the previous reviewers. Apple is an excellent interviewer and he raises thoughtful questions about antisemitism in Austria today. Read morePublished on December 2, 2013 by Jonathan Groner