Authors & Events
Sep 07, 2021
| ISBN 9781681374390
Sep 07, 2021
| ISBN 9781681374406
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Sep 07, 2021 | ISBN 9781681374390
Sep 07, 2021 | ISBN 9781681374406
A devastating novel about the attrocities of WWII, and the unspeakable things people did to survive, by one of Yugoslavia’s great literary voices.The Book of Blam, The Use of Man, Kapo: In these three unsparing novels the Yugoslav author Aleksandar Tišma anatomized the plight of those who survived the Second World War and the death camps, only to live on in a death-haunted world. Blam simply lucked out—and can hardly face himself in the mirror. By contrast, the teenage friends in The Use of Man are condemned to live on and on while enduring every affliction. Kapo is about Lamian, who made it through Auschwitz by serving his German masters, knowing that at any moment and for any reason his “special status” might be revoked.But the war is over now. Auschwitz is in the past. Lamian has settled down in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, where he has a respectable job as a superintendent in the railyard. Everything is normal enough. Then one day in the paper he comes on the name of Helena Lifka, a woman—like him a Yugoslav and a Jew—he raped in the camp. Not long after he sees her, aged and ungainly, Lamian is flooded with guilt and terror.Kapo, like Tišma’s other great novels, is not simply a document or an act of witness. Tišma’s terrible gift is to see with an artist’s dispassionate clarity how fear, violence, guilt, and desire—whether for life, love, or simple understanding—are inextricably knotted together in the human breast.
A devastating novel about the attrocities of WWII, and the unspeakable things people did to survive, by one of Yugoslavia’s great literary voices.Lamian is a survivor, but a survivor of a very special kind. He was a Kapo, a prisoner who served as a camp guard in order to save himself. But has Lamian saved himself?The war over, he resumes life in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, works in a land-surveying office, rents a room, eats as many hot potatoes as he likes, not even bothering to salt them—the quantity is what matters. If only he could stop looking over his shoulder and flinching on the street in the fear that some stranger will step forward, smack his face, and say in a loud voice, “Here’s one!”If only he could stop worrying about Helena Lifka, who turned out to be a Yugoslav, and Jewish too; one of the women he made come naked into the toolshed where he hid the gold, and sit on his lap in exchange for bread and butter and a little warm milk. She could turn up any day, an old woman now, and point an accusing finger.In this masterful novel, Aleksandar Tišma shows step by step how fear can turn an ordinary human being into a monster.
“A book whose darkness, mercilessness, and intensity cannot be suppressed.” —Neue Zürcher Zeitung“A brooding, curiously prescient saga. . . . A probing, exceptional study of a man as both victim and tormentor, and more.” —Kirkus Reviews
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