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Enemies, A Love Story Paperback – April 1, 1988
Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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This is the story of Herman Broder, a fortyish Polish expatriate. He was not a survivor of the camps. Instead, he escaped them by spending three years in a barn owned by the mother of his illiterate peasant servant, Yadwiga, who hid and fed him. In helpless gratitude, and for no other reason, he married her after the war so that she could come to the U. S.
Herman also has a mistress, Masha. Masha is married but is separated from her husband. Masha spent years in the camps. She is very beautiful. She smokes incessantly, speaks rapidly, is a bundle of nervous energy and she can't sleep. "If I do . . . then I'm back with them immediately. They're dragging me, beating me, chasing me. They come running from all sides, like hounds after a hare." She lives in a cramped apartment with her mother whom she loves but whose strictly orthodox ways are a reminder to her every day of her wayward current life . . . and possibly also the life she led in the camps from which she escaped.
Herman ekes out a living by ghost-writing for a showy rabbi, but tells Yadwiga that he sells books out of town so he can stay with Masha for days at a time.Read more ›
Herman Broder is a Jewish man living in New York City in the late 1940's, having survived the Holocaust in Poland hiding from the Nazis. Now the war is over, but Herman is no more at liberty than he was then. Believing his first wife died in a concentration camp, Herman has married again; he also has a mistress; to both women he lies about his work, and to his boss he lies about his women. Then his first wife shows up alive, and now he has to lie to her too. Herman is always on the verge of running, he must relentlessly cover his tracks in case he has to escape again. This sounds like a comedy of errors, and Singer finds the humor in Herman's plight, but he never loses sight of the tragedy which produced Herman's obsession with escape. This is a man so damaged that he can't really live anymore, and that's the question Singer is exploring with Enemies: is it possible to be whole again after going through the Holocaust? And if not, is it possible to live with the pieces that are left? Consider Vladek Spiegelman in Art Spiegelman's Maus, also a Holocaust survivor who only made it through sheer luck and a relentless hoarding and parceling out of otherwise mundane and unimportant items; now, though he's wealthy and free to do as he pleases, he can't stop hoarding, just in case.Read more ›
By the way, it's funny, sad and ironic that Amazon visitors have written exactly two reviews of "Enemies," while several hundred have been written about "The Bridges of Madison County." I believe that Singer himself would just smile at this fact.
Final thought: Read this book. It's one of the ten best novels of all time.
It was the Holocaust that took Herman's parents, wife and two children. He manages to survive by hiding in a hayloft. For three long years, a former servant in his home, Yadwiga, a plain, uneducated but loving Polish woman, keeps him hidden and alive. After the war, we find Yadwiga and Herman married and living in Brooklyn. For other Holocaust survivors, Brooklyn represents opportunity, a sense of re-birth. All around him, new families are being formed out of what is left of old ones. Old customs are being renewed. The old prayers are said. Feasts are held. Traditions prevail. Life goes on. The future is hopeful, but not for Herman. Herman merely exists. He has a job as a ghost-writer for a famous rabbi. Herman is good at writing inspirational messages, messages of hope. But, Herman is not a believer. Not anymore. Not since the Holocaust. To Herman, God is either dead or an enemy. God is out to get him. Herman has a mistress, Masha, a camp survivor. His life is complicated. Then, as it turns out, his first wife who supposedly died in the camps, she's alive. Now Herman has two wives and a mistress. Complicated. They all want a piece of him. Emotionally, he retreats to the hayloft. But, emotionally, Herman is already dead, as dead as he would have been had he been found and sent to the camps, as dead as the rest of them, as dead as his faith in God. In the hayloft, minute by minute, day by dragging day, Herman was already gone
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the most perfect novel I've read in a long time.The characters are complex and interesting.They are the "story". Read morePublished 2 months ago by JAK
I had never read Singer before. What a wonderful crazy zany human story. I could smell the streets, So easily vicariously experience the vitality of the people, places, moods,... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Enemies, A Loves Story, is a heartbreaking, hilarious and thought provoking novel. The characters are so vivid and engaging, that I actually find myself missing them. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Steven Toboroff