Thursday, February 1, 2007

MercatorNet reviews two historical works: one a young girl's private perspective on communist Russia, the other a chronicle of a Jew's search for his great-uncle's family, who were murdered during the Holocaust. The second seems a particularly poignant look into some of the deeper themes of existence:
Mendelsohn’s quest to recreate the lives of his six lost relatives, now no more than “minor characters in someone else’s tale”, takes him to the Ukraine, Australia, Prague, Vienna, Israel, Denmark and Sweden. One person leads to another, thousands of miles distant; one clue leads to another, which then illuminates an anecdotal fragment which has got blurred in the telling. So urgent is the author’s need to know, “to have facts and dates and details” and to impose order on this chaos of facts, by “assembling them into a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end”, that the reader, too, becomes absorbed in the search. Five years in the making and 500 pages long, Mendelsohn’s passionate tale makes his own family tragedy our tragedy too; indeed, the tragedy of mankind.

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