The Wall: Book summary and reviews of The Wall by H. G. Adler

The Wall

by H. G. Adler

The Wall by H. G. Adler X
The Wall by H. G. Adler
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2014
    656 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Compared by critics to Kafka, Joyce, and Musil, H. G. Adler is becoming recognized as one of the towering figures of twentieth-century fiction. Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti wrote that "Adler has restored hope to modern literature," and the first two novels rediscovered after his death, Panorama and The Journey, were acclaimed as "modernist masterpieces" by The New Yorker.

Now his magnum opus, The Wall, the final installment of Adler's Shoah trilogy and his crowning achievement as a novelist, is available for the first time in English.

Drawing upon Adler's own experiences in the Holocaust and his postwar life, The Wall, like the other works in the trilogy, nonetheless avoids detailed historical specifics. The novel tells the story of Arthur Landau, survivor of a wartime atrocity, a man struggling with his nightmares and his memories of the past as he strives to forge a new life for himself. Haunted by the death of his wife, Franziska, he returns to the city of his youth and receives confirmation of his parents' fates, then crosses the border and leaves his homeland for good.

Embarking on a life of exile, he continues searching for his place within the world. He attempts to publish his study of the victims of the war, yet he is treated with curiosity, competitiveness, and contempt by fellow intellectuals who escaped the conflict unscathed. Afflicted with survivor's guilt, Arthur tries to leave behind the horrors of the past and find a foothold in the present. Ultimately, it is the love of his second wife, Johanna, and his two children that allows him to reaffirm his humanity while remembering all he's left behind.

The Wall is a magnificent epic of survival and redemption, powerfully told through stream of consciousness and suffused with daydream, fantasy, memory, nightmare, and pure imagination. More than a portrait of a Holocaust survivor's journey, it is a universal novel about recovering from the traumas of the past and finding a way to live again.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The writing is sonorous and so entirely devastating that the reader is compelled to pore over every word. One cannot begin to share this author's anguish, but can participate in not allowing it to be forgotten." - Publishers Weekly

"This stream-of-consciousness style lends itself to a wordiness that will slow down the narrative considerably for some readers. Best recommended for large collections of literary treatments of the Holocaust and the lives of survivors." - LIbrary Journal

"An eloquent record of suffering - and perhaps of redemption as well." - Kirkus

This information about The Wall shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

H. G. Adler Author Biography

H. G. Adler was the author of twenty-six books of fiction, poetry, philosophy, and history. A survivor of the Holocaust, Adler later settled in England and began writing novels about his experience. Working as a freelance writer and teacher throughout his life, Adler died in London in 1988.

Peter Filkins (translator of both Panorama and The Journey) is an acclaimed translator and the recipient of a Berlin Prize fellowship in 2005 from the American Academy in Berlin, among other honors. He teaches writing and literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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