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Close to Jedenew (The Contemporary Art of the Novella) Paperback – June 3, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Setting this haunting, stream-of-consciousness tale in a generic rural Polish village (jeden in German means every), Vennemann writes in the first-person voice of an unnamed 16-year-old Jewish girl, who recounts the German army's arrival there at the beginning of WWII. Up to that point, her family of non-practicing Jews has been living among the Polish farmers in an uneasy détente. Beloved elder brother Marek, an apprentice to his father's veterinarian practice, has converted to Catholicism in order to marry Antonina, pregnant with their daughter, Julia. But when the Germans take over the village houses, the Polish villagers turn into a drunken, raging mob, and the family takes refuge in their tree house. Tales of love and adventure recounted countless times by the father and Marek sustain the family as they anxiously await their fate, while a foreboding sense of fried circuitry and doom infuses their telling. Masterly and chilling, Vennemann's work captures a small moment of humanity within a larger machinery of evil and hate. (Aug.)
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Praise for Kevin Vennemann's Close To Jedenew
"Vennemann intertwines the tenderest memories of childhood and friendship with the denial that the murderers have already entered the house. Who would have thought the novel capable of this profoundly original way to examine anti-Semitism and the formation of atrocity?"
—Lore Segal, author of Lucinella, also in "The Contemporary Art of The Novella" series
"A stunning debut."
"It is a harrowing, remarkable, serious novel, in part because it is not a guilty one"