Long Summer Nights

Long Summer Nights

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

The second and last children's book by the extraordinary Holocaust survivor and Hebrew-language author of the award-winning Adam & Thomas.A mystical and transcendent journey of two wanderers, an eleven-year-old boy and an old man to whom the boy has been entrusted by his father, a Jew, fleeing the ravages of the war by the late award winning author, Aharon Appelfeld. The old man is a former Ukranian commander, revered by the soldiers under his command, who has gone blind and chosen the life of a wanderer as his last spiritual adventure. The child, now disguised as a Ukranian non-Jew, learns from the old man how to fend for himself and how to care for others. In the tradition of The Alchemist, the travelers learn from each other and the boy grows stronger and wiser as the old man teaches him the art of survival and, through the stories he shares, the reasons for living. Long Summer Nights carries its magic not only in the words, but also in the...
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To the Edge of Sorrow

To the Edge of Sorrow

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

From "fiction's foremost chronicler of the Holocaust" (Philip Roth), a haunting novel about an unforgettable group of Jewish partisans fighting the Nazis during World War II.Battling numbing cold, ever-present hunger, and German soldiers determined to hunt them down, four dozen resistance fighters—escapees from a nearby ghetto—hide in a Ukrainian forest, determined to survive the war, sabotage the German war effort, and rescue as many Jews as they can from the trains taking them to concentration camps. Their leader is relentless in his efforts to turn his ragtag band of men and boys into a disciplined force that accomplishes its goals without losing its moral compass. And so when they're not raiding peasants' homes for food and supplies, or training with the weapons taken from the soldiers they have ambushed and killed, the partisans read books of faith and philosophy that they have rescued from abandoned Jewish homes, and they draw strength from the...
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The Conversion

The Conversion

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

Our story opens in an Austrian city, two generations before the Holocaust, where almost all of the Jews have converted to Christianity. Today the church bells are pealing for Karl, an ambitious young civil servant whose conversion will clear his path to a coveted high government post. Karl's future looks bright, but with his promotion comes a political crisis that turns his conversion into a baptism by fire, unexpectedly reuniting Karl with his past and forcing him to take a stand he could never have imagined.
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Tzili

Tzili

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

The youngest, least-favored member of an Eastern European Jewish family, Tzili is considered an embarrassment by her parents and older siblings. Her schooling has been a failure, she is simple and meek, and she seems more at home with the animals in the field than with people. And so when her panic-stricken family flees the encroaching Nazi armies, Tzili is left behind to fend for herself. At first seeking refuge with the local peasants, she is eventually forced to escape from them as well, and she takes to the forest, living a solitary existence until she is discovered by another Jewish refugee, a man who is as alone in the world as she is. As she matures into womanhood, they fall in love. And though their time together is tragically brief, their love for each other imbues Tzili with the strength to survive the war and begin a new life, together with other survivors, in Palestine. Aharon Appelfeld imbues Tzili's story with a harrowing beauty that is emblematic of the fate of...
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The Iron Tracks

The Iron Tracks

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

How does one live after surviving injustice? What satisfaction comes from revenge? Can the past ever be left behind? Masterfully composed and imbued with extraordinary feeling and understanding, The Iron Tracks is a riveting tale of survival and revenge by the writer whom Irving Howe called "one of the best novelists alive today."Ever since he was released from a concentration camp forty years earlier, Erwin Siegelbaum has been obsessively riding the trains of postwar Austria. His days are filled with drink, his nights with brief love affairs and the torments of his nightmares. What keeps him sane is his mission to collect the menorahs, kiddush cups, and holy books that have survived their vanished owners. And the hope that one day he will find the Nazi officer who murdered his parents—and have the strength to kill him.A haunting exploration of one survivor's complex, wrenching, inner world, The Iron Tracks is distinguished by the depth of insight...
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The Retreat

The Retreat

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

The year is 1937. On a remote hilltop some distance from Vienna stands a hotel called The Retreat. Founded by a man who is determined to cleanse himself and his guests of all "Jewish traits," it is a resort of assimilation, with daily activities that include lessons in how to look, talk, act—in short, how to pass—as a gentile. But with Hitler on the march, the possibilities of both assimilation and retreat are quickly fading for the hotel's patrons, men and women who are necessarily—and horrifically—blind to their fate. Mordant, shrewd, and elegantly written, The Retreat is a moving story of people forbidden to retreat from themselves, by the writer whom Irving Howe called "one of the best novelists alive."
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Unto the Soul

Unto the Soul

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

In turn of the century Eastern Europe, a brother and sister have been chosen to guard an ancient cemetery of Jewish martyrs situated on an isolated mountain. The endless snows protect them from the pogroms and plagues that rage in the world below, but that same protective blanket cuts them off from their people and tradition. Escape—from loneliness, from wavering piety, and from the burgeoning desire they feel for one another—becomes impossible. A parable for our times, by the writer whom Irving Howe called "one of the best novelists alive," Unto the Soul lays bare the deepest stirrings of religious feeling and despair within the human soul.
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Laish

Laish

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

A caravan of Jews wanders through Eastern Europe at the end of the nineteenth century on a heartbreaking quest. Spiritual seekers and the elderly, widows and orphans, the sick and the dying, con artists and adventurers, victims of pogroms who have no place else to go–they are all on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but the journey is filled with unexpected detours and unanticipated disaster.Among them is Laish, a fifteen-year-old orphan, through whose eyes we observe the interactions within this ragtag group of dreamers, holy men, misfits, and thieves as they battle with one another, try to stay one step ahead of the gendarmes, and do what little they can to keep up their flagging spirits. With the death of the rabbi who brought the group together, they are now led by men whom Laish refers to as "the dealers"–black-market traders whose motives are questionable but who periodically infuse the group with the money they need to get to the next town.Years pass,...
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All Whom I Have Loved

All Whom I Have Loved

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

The haunting story of a Jewish family in Eastern Europe in the 1930s that prefigures the fate of the Jews during World War II.At the center is nine-year-old Paul Rosenfeld, the beloved only child of divorced parents, through whose eyes we view a dissolving, increasingly chaotic world. Initially, Paul lives with his mother--a secular, assimilated schoolteacher, who he adores until she "betrays" him by marrying the gentile André. He is then sent to live with his father--once an admired avant-garde artist, but now reviled by the critics as a "decadent Jew," who drowns his anger, pain, and humiliation in drink. Paul searches in vain for stability and meaning in a world that is collapsing around him, but his love for the earthy peasant girl who briefly takes care of him, the strange pull he feels towards the Jews praying in the synagogue near his home, and the fascination with which he observes Eastern Orthodox church rituals merely give him tantalizing glimpses into...
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Blooms of Darkness

Blooms of Darkness

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

A new novel from the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Israeli writer ('One of the greatest writers of the age' -The Guardian), a haunting, heartbreaking story of love and loss. The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him. Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she battles with the Nazi soldiers who come and go. When she's not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protective of the bewildered, painfully polite young boy. And Hugo becomes protective of Mariana, too, trying to make her laugh when she is depressed, soothing her physical and mental agony with cold compresses. As the memories of his family and friends grow dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her life spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for consolation to the adoring boy who is on the cusp of manhood. The arrival of the Russian army sends the prostitutes fleeing. But Mariana is too well known, and she is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. As the novel moves toward its heartrending conclusion, Aharon Appelfeld once again crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of life and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
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Katerina

Katerina

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

Fleeing an abusive home, Katerina, a teenage peasant in Ukraine in the 1880s, is taken in by a Jewish family and becomes their housekeeper. Feeling the warmth of family life for the first time and incorporating the family's customs and rituals into her own Christian observances, Katerina is traumatized when the parents are murdered in separate pogroms and the children are taken away by relatives. She finds work with other Jewish families, all of whom are subjected to relentless persecution by their neighbors. When the beloved child she had with her Jewish lover is murdered, Katerina kills the murderer and is sent to prison. Released from prison years later, in the chaos following the end of World War II, a now elderly Katerina is devastated to find a world that has been emptied of its Jews and that is not at all sorry to see them gone. Ever the outsider, Katerina realizes that she has survived only to bear witness to the fact that these people had ever existed at...
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The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping

The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

From the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author ("One of the greatest writers of the age"—The Guardian): a young Holocaust survivor takes his first steps toward creating a new life in the newly established state of Israel. Erwin doesn't remember much about his journey across Europe when the war finally ended because he spent most of it asleep, carried by other survivors as they emerged from their hiding places or were liberated from the camps and made their way to the shores of Naples,where they filled refugee camps and wondered what was to become of them. As he struggles to stay awake, Erwin becomes part of a group of boys being rigorously trained both physically and mentally by an emissary from Palestine for life in their new home. The fog of sleep slowly begins to lift, and when Erwin and his fellow clandestine immigrants are released by British authorities from the detention camp in Atlit, he and his comrades are assigned to a kibbutz, where they...
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Adam and Thomas

Adam and Thomas

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

Adam and Thomas is the story of two nine-year-old Jewish boys who survive World War II by banding together in the forest. They are alone, visited only furtively, every few days by Mina, a mercurial girl who herself has found refuge from the war by living with a peasant family. She makes secret journeys and brings the boys parcels of food at her own risk.Adam and Thomas must learn to survive and do. They forage and build a small tree house, although it's more like a bird's nest. Adam's family dog, Miro, manages to find his way to him, to the joy of both boys. Miro brings the warmth of home with him. Echoes of the war are felt in the forest. The boys meet fugitives fleeing for their lives and try to help them. They learn to disappear in moments of danger. And they barely survive winter's harshest weather, but when things seem to be at their worst, a miracle happens.From the Hardcover edition.
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Suddenly, Love

Suddenly, Love

Aharon Appelfeld

Religion & Spirituality / Literature & Fiction / Jewish Religion

A poignant, heartbreaking new work by "one of the best novelists alive" (Irving Howe)--the story of a lonely older man and his devoted young caretaker who transform each other's lives in ways they could never have imagined.Ernst is a gruff seventy-year-old Red Army veteran from Ukraine who landed, almost by accident, in Israel after World War II. A retired investment advisor, he lives alone (his first wife and baby daughter were killed by the Nazis; he divorced his shrewish second wife several years ago) and spends his time laboring over his unpublished novels. Irena is the unmarried thirty-six-year-old daughter of Holocaust survivors who has been taking care of Ernst since his surgery two years ago; she arrives every morning promptly at eight and leaves every afternoon precisely at three. Quiet and shy, Irena is in awe of Ernst's intellect. And as the months pass, Ernst comes to depend on the gentle young woman who runs his house, listens to him read from his...
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