The Book of Blam

The Book of Blam

Aleksandar Tisma

Fiction / Historical / Historical Fiction

The Book of Blam, Aleksandar Tišma's "extended kaddish . . . [his] masterpiece" (Kirkus Reviews), is a modern-day retelling of the book of Job. The war is over. Miroslav Blam walks along the former Jew Street, and he remembers. He remembers Aaron Grün, the hunchbacked watchmaker; and Eduard Fiker, a lamp merchant; and Jakob Mentele, a stove fitter; and Arthur Spitzer, a grocer, who played amateur soccer and had non-Jewish friends; and Sándor Vértes, a lawyer who was a Communist. All dead. As are his younger sister and his best friend, a Serb, both of whom joined the resistance movement; and his mother and father in the infamous Novi Sad raid in January 1942--when the Hungarian Arrow Cross executed 1,400 Jews and Serbs on the banks of the Danube and tossed them into the river.Blam lives. The war he survived will never be over for him.
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The Use of Man

The Use of Man

Aleksandar Tisma

Fiction / Historical / Historical Fiction

The Use of Man starts with an unexpected discovery. World War II is ending. Sredoje Lazukić has been fighting all through it. Now, as one of the victorious Partisans, he has come home to Novi Sad. He visits the house he grew up in. Strangers nervously show him around. He looks up the mother of Milinko, his best friend. Milinko's girlfriend, Vera, was the daughter of a Jew, a bookish businessman. Her house stands empty and open. Venturing in, Sredoje is surprised to find the diary of the German tutor that Milinko, Vera, and he all shared, Fräulein, who died on the operating table just before the war. Here, however, in a cheap notebook in Vera's old room, is a record of Fräulein's lonely days, with the sentimental caption Poésie. . . .The diary survived. Sredoje survived. Vera and Milinko have survived too. But what survives? A few years back Sredoje, Vera, and Milinko were teenagers, struggling to make sense of life. Life, they now...
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