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Rue Ordener, Rue Labat (Stages) Paperback – August 28, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kofman, a French philosopher and the author of Freud and Fiction and Nietzsche and Metaphor, began this recollection of her childhood years during the occupation of Paris in January 1943. In October 1994, she killed herself. This is not a deeply emotional book, although the subject is and Kofman clearly found it difficult to deal with her memories of those years. Encountering a schoolmate who stood up for her against anti-Semitic bullies, she couldn't bring herself to mention the event or her gratitude until a second encounter decades later. After Kofman's father was rounded up in July 1942, never to return, her mother sent her six children to hiding places in the country. Kofman, however, was a clingy, sickly child who, when she wasn't trying to escape, refused to eat food that wasn't kosher, a stubborn tribute to her father that threatened those around her. Eventually she was brought back to Paris and her mother, but when they had to flee their home on the Rue Ordener, Kofman's mother turned to the "Lady on the Rue Labat," who had once been their neighbor. There Kofman was torn between her increasingly difficult Jewish mother and the slightly obsessive coddling of the Christian woman whom Kofman called Meme. Kofman's rather dispassionate record of the occupation isn't one of rationing and hiding, though both are involved. Instead it is the story of the dissolution of a family and the end of childhood, set against a background that neither the adults of the story and certainly not the child could begin to comprehend.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kofman, a philosopher-theoretician of art, philosophy, literature, and psychoanalysis at the Sorbonne until she died by her own hand in 1994, describes the horrors that she and her family endured in Paris during the German occupation after her father, a rabbi, was dragged from their home on the Rue Ordener and deported to Auschwitz on July 16, 1942. (He was bludgeoned to death there with a pickax a year later by a Jewish butcher turned Kapo.) Throughout the occupation, Kofman and her mother lived on the Rue Labat, protected by a Christian woman whom Kofman calls Meme. Meme detached Kofman from her mother and from Judaism, but she saved them both from Nazi raids. The memoir ends with Kofman's enrollment at the Sorbonne in the mid-1950s. Published in France in 1994, this short, gripping memoir, adeptly translated, offers a vivid account of one person's struggle in Vichy France. Recommended for all libraries.?Bob Ivey, Univ. of Memphis
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Stages (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 87 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (August 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803277806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803277809
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.3 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a slim volume from a French philosopher writing of her childhood as a Jew in France during World War II. She writes from the perspective of an adult who clearly still is ill-at-ease with her history, specifically her choosing of a Christian woman who help hide her over her mother; her violation of Jewish law taught her by her rabbi father. This volume does not speak to common experience, not even French Jewish experience; rather it is the experience of Sarah Kofman as seen in retrospect. What is most evident is the lack of resolution regarding her past - the reader appreciates the difficulty with which she apparently tells her story.
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By Barb F. on September 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book would have been much better if it was longer and followed a theme longer than just a couple of pages. The different selections started out very interestingly but since the material never was in any depth it was hard to follow. I will explore other books the author has written and see what they are like.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short, graphic, not easy to put down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mildly inspiring
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