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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2008
I held my tongue for a long time, but I can no longer allow one awful review represent this amazing book. This book is not about a simple "good read". You will have to work at it. But I feel it is one of the major works of world literature of the second half of the twentieth century. No joke. It forms the core of all of the other novels of Federman, directly (though chaotically) representing the most critically symbolic moment in Federman's self-created autobiography, when he was pushed into a family closet as a young boy and escaped while the rest of his family was rounded up and sent to their deaths at Auschwitz.

Federman is relatively ignored in the US, where he has made his home since the 1950s. In France, he is considered a major writer. In Germany, his books have been made into radio plays and theatre. In all, his more than 20 books have been translated into nearly as many languages.

This is an intense, dense, single-sentence, rambling, obsessive text. But it features in the form of ore, needing to be mined out, the most basic essence of all of Federman's work -- the feeling that a writer in a sense betrays a part of him or herself in making a part of their life a story, an object for consumption. And yet, the story must be told -- to not tell it would also be a crime. Federman's stories always frustrate their own tellings, but for good reason. Storytelling is not an innocent act, though it is a necessary one.

Dense and obsessive, yes. But it is also, in like manner to his mentor Samuel Beckett's late texts, compressed and brief -- less than 20 pages. This is a text that rewards repeated readings, and allows them.

I recommend this book very hiughly to anyone who is interested in contemporary literature, and particularly those of you for whom Raymond Federman is yet an unknown quantity. You should know about him -- and will find his complete saga captivating.
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on December 22, 2014
This is an essential, brilliant, memoir of Federman's youth, the only survivor of a Polish family that fled to France. Read this book.
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1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2005
A miserable waste of time. Only the publisher, who sadly is trying to hawk his own self published mediocre writing has anything good to say about this meager and pretentious paragraph.
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