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Aharon Appelfeld's Fiction: Acknowledging the Holocaust (Jewish Literature and Culture) Hardcover – January 17, 2005
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Appelfeld's literary career has been marked by two distinctive features: his unswerving attention to the conditions of the Holocaust (without exception, all of his many novels give it voice) and a narrative method characterized by personal removal and indirection (his versions of the Holocaust seem to some evasive and mystifying). Appelfeld's fictional world is at a chronological remove from the actual killing fields of the Holocaust, and his witnesses draw on memory to recall historical events; the result is a narrative that foreshadows the impending violence rather than enacts it. Whereas previous studies have conceived Appelfeld's fiction as a source of historical factual knowledge, Budick (Hebrew Univ., Jerusalem) shifts her critical examination from literary testament to philosophic meditation. Leaning on the precepts of contemporary philosophers, primarily Stanley Cavell, the author relies on the term acknowledgment. This key word serves as the basis of her sensitive reading of the ironic interplay between knowledge and acknowledgement, between the absolute of knowing and the more subtle and intellectually honest acknowledgment that describes a reader's response when confronted with new demands that impinge themselves from the outside world. This is a rich and compelling book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate and research collectionOctober 2005 (M. Butovsky emeritus, Concordia University)
About the Author
Emily Miller Budick holds the Ann and Joseph Adelman Chair in American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is author of Fiction and Historical Consciousness: The American Romance Tradition and editor of Modern Hebrew Fiction by Gershon Shaked (IUP, 2000) and Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature.