See Under: Love
How can one tell of the Holocaust. There have been many volumes written, containing facts, statistics, pictures, and personal accounts. But the sheer horror of it often paralyses one's reactions to: stop I can't stand it read any more and in the end it is too grotesque to be real. David Grossman, using fantasy and symbolism and humor made it more real for me than anything I have ever read or heard about on the subject.
In the first chapter he used his consummate skill to evoke it, by being able to `get into the head' of a 9 year old Israeli boy whose immigrant parents would not tell him what the Holocaust was. Momik is a clever nine year old, trying to figure out what happened `Over There', and his Holocaust survivor friends and relatives are funny and, at the same time, infinitely sad. He and his escapades capture your heart.
The chapter on Bruno is an allegory of resistance to the slaughter of the Jews, in particular Bruno Schulz, a gifted Polish-Jewish writer. In this tale, he escapes the Nazis by becoming and swimming with the salmon, Grossman's symbol for the `wandering Jews'.
The third chapter is about Wasserman, a Jew in a concentration camp, who had written children's stories before the war which happened to be the favorites of the camp's commandant when he was a child. Wasserman had the statistical distinction, out of the millions who were slaughtered, of being the one improbable person who could not be killed, either by gas chamber or pistol. It is filled with dark humor as Wasserman becomes the Scheherazade of the commandant, continuing his stories each night, with the request that he be killed after each recital. But of course he couldn't be killed.
The final chapter is an encyclopedia, in which the title - See Under: Love is a cross reference. I couldn't finish this chapter. It was too awful for me.
This book is bold, poetic and passionate. I consider this the best, the most important book I have ever read.
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: VINTAGE ARROW - MASS MARKET; 1 edition (1 November 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099541599
- ISBN-13: 978-0099541592
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)