Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Schocken (October 11, 2011)
Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk
From the Publisher’s Website:
From the award-winning, internationally acclaimed writer (“One of the best novelists alive” —Irving Howe): a Jewish woman marries a gentile laborer in turn-of-the-century Austria, with disastrous results.
A high school honor student bound for university and a career as a mathematician, Blanca lives with her parents in a small town in Austria in the early years of the twentieth century. At school one day she meets Adolf, who comes from a family of peasant laborers. Tall and sturdy, plainspoken and uncomplicated, Adolf is unlike anyone Blanca has ever met. And Adolf is awestruck by beautiful, brilliant Blanca–even though she is Jewish. When Blanca is asked by school administrators to tutor Adolf, the inevitable happens: they fall in love. And when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca abandons her plans to attend university, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind.
Almost immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong. Told in a series of flashbacks as Blanca and her son flee from their town with the police in hot pursuit, the tragic story of Blanca’s life with Adolf recalls a time and place that are no more but that powerfully reverberate in collective memory.
“Tragic heroine Blanca will remind readers of Hardy’s luckless Tess, for Blanca’s essential decency and self-sacrificing attempts to do right end, fatefully and inexorably, in suffering. . . . As she tries to outrun her past, Blanca faithfully records her own history and surveys the loss of faith among Austrian Jews; with this, the story of one woman’s misfortune takes on the magnitude of history. . . . Compelling.”
“Distinguished fiction by one of Israel’s most prominent novelists. . . . A beautiful and affecting novel, Tolstoyan in its compassion for humanity.”
“An affecting tale [and a] graceful narrative.”
“A worthy addition to the oeuvre of an acknowledged master of the plight of Europe’s Jews before and during the Holocaust. Appelfeld makes every word count as he hauntingly depicts the tragedy of the human condition.”