Friday, March 6, 2015 AdarI 15, 5775
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Big laughs are not the sort of response we immediately associate with most modern poetry. Humor and satire are integral components of some of the great modernist works of fiction -- think James Joyce's Ulysses , Italo Svevo's The Confessions of Zeno , much of Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita and Pale Fire , especially -- even when the overall effect is...
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A glimpse of Hungary before tragedy took hold
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Adam Biro's One Must Also Be Hungarian , recently published by Chicago University Press, is a short book -- topping out at just 168 small pages -- but it contains multitudes. Within its series of portraits, it tells the long, wondrous but ultimately tragic history of Hungary's Jews through the lens of the author's family, following them from the 19th...
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When prose depicts reality, in novel form
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I am forever astonished at how many fictional variations Aharon Appelfeld has been able to spin from the bits and pieces of his tragic life story. This ability became even clearer to me several years ago, when the great Israeli novelist published his memoir The Story of a Life , where he dealt with the "truth" that has been the...
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The authorities came late at night, without warning, dragging people from their beds like criminals. No explanations were offered, despite all pleas. The next thing that the dazed, innocent victims knew, they were on trains, with the blinds drawn, traveling to unknown destinations, uncertain of what the future held for them. It sounds like a scenario right out of Nazi-occupied...
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An existential question: Is there choice involved in the rescuing?
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How do you explain goodness, really get at the essence of what it is? Its properties are as mysterious -- as unexplainable -- as what motivates people to indulge in the worst sorts of evil. Goodness may, in fact, be even more resistant to explication than its opposite, since we've all been moved to hatred and so can tap into...
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