Writing the Book of Esther (French Expressions) by Henri Raczymow
Writing the Book of Esther (French Expressions)
Author: Henri Raczymow
Title: Writing the Book of Esther (French Expressions)
ISBN10: 0841913358
ISBN13: 978-0841913356
Format: .PDF .EPUB .FB2
Publisher: Holmes & Meier Pub (February 1, 1995)
Language: English
Size pdf: 1617 kb
Size epub: 1371 kb
Rating: 4.6 ✪
Votes: 359
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: World Literature
The prominence of Holocaust themes in the media testifies to their compelling grip on contemporary consciousness and memory, particularly for a younger generation of Jews who never experienced the Nazi genocide first-hand but were raised amid its ashes.
Mathieu, the narrator of this novel, is one such person, drawn by his sister's suicide to confront the effects of his family's tragic past. Esther, the narrator's gifted older sister, a teacher and aspiring writer, was born in France to Polish-Jewish refugees in 1943, narrowly escaping the deportations that claimed the aunt after whom she is named. Growing up in the Jewish immigrant quarter of Paris, she is haunted by the Holocaust, obsessively reliving - in her fantasies, dreams, troubled behavior, and abortive struggle to write - the family trauma she has absorbed but not actually experienced. Born after the war, Mathieu is left to grapple with recovering his sister's memory - which he had resolutely tried to deny - and with it the meaning of his own identity, family origins, and historical predicament.
Piecing together other people's memories, conjecture, conversations, and eyewitness accounts, Mathieu attempts to write the book, and tell the tale, that Esther and his family failed to transmit. A result of his effort is the novel itself, which interweaves multiple layers of time, identity, memory, and experience.
Mathieu's intense relationship with his sister is provocative for its deep psychological and moral resonance. Being neither victim, survivor, nor witness, does he have the right to give voice to the unlived and unimaginable? Or is he a voyeur or imposter, usurping the lives of the real victims?
Placing in bold relief the hidden thoughts, obsessions, conflicts, and creative struggles of the second generation that has inherited the anger, sadness, guilt, and fear - but not the actual memory - of the Nazi genocide, Henri Raczymow gives an authentic and powerful voice to its grim legacy in our time.