This fable of a Jewish ghetto during World War II is one of the great literary masterworks of the Holocaust. Published in Germany
in 1969, it is only now appearing in an authorized English translation. Concerning a former cafe owner who fabricates the story of the Russian army's inexorable advance on the ghetto, and the liberation that will follow their arrival, the tale has the simple power of myths or dreams. A comic tale of unimaginable tragedy, the novel brings vividly to life the doomed inhabitants of the ghetto: Schmidt, the obtuse assimilationist; the child, Lina, who hunts for Jacob's imaginary radio; Frankfurte,r the formerly obese burgher. And Jacob himself, a storyteller whose inventions become like bread to the others, who finds himself trapped in his growing mesh of lies until he is driven to tell the truth. At the end there are two final passages: one in which the Russians arrive to save the ghetto; and one in which they don't. Who is to distinguish between fact and myth? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Twenty-seven years after its initial German publication, this celebrated?and out-of-print?novel of life and death in a Nazi-occupied Jewish ghetto during WW II appears here in the translation authorized by the author, a Jewish Holocaust survivor. In the midst of a morally inverted universe where the monstrously wicked has become utterly commonplace, Jacob Heym, a yellow star on his chest, gives hope to his fellow ghetto occupants by telling them he has clandestinely overheard a radio report that Russian troops are advancing and will soon liberate the ghetto. One life-sustaining lie leads to another as the former eatery owner, who now does back-breaking forced labor in a freight yard, circulates invented radio news of German defeats and Allied progress. Jacob's stories halt a stream of suicides, even though savage beatings, shootings, executions, starvation and deportations to concentration camps continue unabated. In a moving, almost hallucinatory, narrative that gives voice to a grief beyond words, Becker shows us ordinary people struggling to maintain their humanity and dignity. Vennewitz's translation conveys the restraint and emotional power of a story that unfolds with the impact of a moral parable or a folk legend.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.