Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Great Regulars: It is precisely this strange and shocking

paradox, this child's world constructed in such proximity to death, that makes the book so startling and so beautiful. Every incident is, in effect, seen twice: through the eyes of the historian and the eyes of a boy. The boy, for example, plays harmonica in a camp rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, even as the crowds are herded to their deaths; the historian wonders what this apparently absurd performance meant. "Perhaps it was sarcastic, that was one possible explanation. Or the other possibility was that it was a declaration of deep humanistic values. At the time, I did not understand."

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Job-Kafka-Kulka: The Road to Auschwitz


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