Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What books have I read recently? Well, what books have I started?

Corrections, Jonathan Franzen

The Stillborn God, Mark Lilla

The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin

And the only one I've finished is:

There are similarities between Geve's memoir with the fictional Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz, mentioned earlier on this blog. Although Geve is German, and Kertesz Hungarian, they both arrived at concentration camps as adolescents, and stayed remarkably long, learning to survive and proving themselves very adaptable to their surroundings. Most of all, the tone of the two books, the attitude and approach to daily life is very matter-of-fact, without sentimentalism. However, Kertesz drifts into a type of mania for logic and rationality which brings him into a daze about what is going on around him, whereas Geve exhibits pragmatism and is precociously aware of his need for hope and forward-looking companionship. Both spend time in infirmaries, too, and are of course very lucky, given the odds.

Geve mentions several times his awareness, even then, of the internationalist attitude he had gained from his experiences, and he contrasts this with others who hadn't been detained with a diverse group like he had. And the euphoria he describes during the days immediately following the liberation of Buchenwald are palpable and joyous, and I don't remember this from Kertesz' book.

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