From Elie Wiesel, a profoundly moving novel about the healing power
Gamaliel Friedman is only a child when his family flees Czechoslovakia in 1939 for the relative safety of Hungary. For him, it will be the beginning of a life of rootlessness, disguise, and longing. Five years later, in desperation, Gamaliel's parents entrust him to a young Christian cabaret singer named Ilonka. With his Jewish identity hidden, he survives the war, but in 1956, to escape the stranglehold of communism, he leaves Budapest after painfully parting with Ilonka.
He settles in Vienna, then Paris, and finally, after a failed marriage, in New York, where he works as a ghostwriter, living through the lives of others. Eventually, he falls in with a group of exiles: a Spanish Civil War veteran, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, a victim of Stalinism, a former Israeli intelligence agent, and a rabbia mystic whose belief in the potential for grace in everyday life powerfully counters Gamaliel's feelings of loss and dispossession. When Gamaliel is asked to help draw out an elderly, disfigured Hungarian woman who is barely able to communicate but who may be his beloved Ilonka, he begins to understand that a real life in the present is possible only if he will reconcile with his past.
Aching, unsentimental, deeply affecting, and thought-provoking, The Time of the Uprooted is the work of a master.
The Time of The Uprooted
I'm four years old, or maybe five. It's a Sabbath afternoon. Mother
is lying down in the next room. I'd asked her to read to me from the
book she had by her side, but she has one of her frequent headaches. So
I ask my father to tell me a story, but just then there's a knock at
the door. "Go see who it is," says my father, reluctantly glancing
up from the journal he's keeping. A stranger is at the door.
"May I come in?" he asks. A big bearded man, broad across the shoulders, with sad eyesthere's something disturbing about him. His gaze seems heavy with secrets, and glows with a pale and holy fire.
"Who's there?" my father asks, and I reply, "I don't know."
"Call me a wanderer," the stranger says, "a wandering man who's worn-out and hungry."
"Who do you want to see?" I ask, and he says to me, "You....
Some critics feel that Wiesel's themes of love , loss, faith, politics, survival and, of course, exile, are a little too defuse; but one cannot deny the impact
of his body of work as a whole, which speaks for not only the lost generation but those left behind, to which The Time of the Uprooted is a worthy addition, illustrating the lasting emotional impact of the Holocaust.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (333 words).
Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania,
which is now part of Romania. He was fifteen years
old when he and his family were deported by the
Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister
perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and
his father were later transported to Buchenwald,
where his father died shortly before the camp was
liberated in April 1945.
After the war, he studied in Paris and later became a ...
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