Blooms of Darkness: A Novel by Aharon Appelfeld, Jeffrey M. Green

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By Aharon Appelfeld, Jeffrey M. Green

**WINNER OF THE 2012 INDEPENDENT overseas FICTION PRIZE**

A new novel from the award-winning, the world over acclaimed Israeli author (“One of the best writers of the age”—The Guardian), a haunting, heartbreaking tale of affection and loss.
 
The ghetto within which the Jews were restricted is being liquidated by means of the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is introduced by way of his mom to the neighborhood brothel, the place one of many prostitutes has agreed to conceal him. Mariana is a bitterly unsatisfied lady who hates what she has performed to her existence, and evening after evening Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she rages on the Nazi infantrymen who come and pass. whilst she’s now not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protecting of the bewildered, painfully well mannered younger boy. And Hugo turns into protecting of Mariana, too, attempting to make her snigger while she is depressed, soothing her actual and psychological affliction with chilly compresses. because the stories of his friends and family develop dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her lifestyles spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for comfort to the adoring boy who's at the cusp of manhood.
 
The arrival of the Russian military sends the prostitutes fleeing. yet Mariana is just too renowned, and she or he is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. because the novel strikes towards its heartrending end, Aharon Appelfeld once more crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of existence and a deeper realizing of what it potential to be human.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Example text

Mariana sits on the bed and observes him. ” she asks, apparently forgetting that she has already asked him that. “I’m eleven. ” The question escapes his mouth. “Outdoors is very dangerous for Jews. ” he asks. “You’re in Mariana’s house. It’s a bit strange, but you’ll get used to it. ” That instruction astounds him again, but he doesn’t open his mouth. “I’ve thought about it a lot. You’ll have to improve your Ukrainian. You look a lot like Mariana. Your hair is dark blond, and your nose is small.

His mother doesn’t answer all his questions the way she used to. There are questions she simply ignores. Hugo has learned meanwhile not to ask, to listen instead to the silence between the words. ” Most days Hugo sits on the floor and plays dominoes or chess with himself. Sometimes Anna comes. Anna is six months younger than Hugo, but a little taller. She wears glasses, reads a lot, and is an excellent pianist. Hugo wants to impress her but doesn’t know how. His mother has taught him a little French, but even at that Anna is better than he.

Frieda keeps praising her boyfriend, who is willing to endanger himself for her and for her family. “Only Ukrainians can save us, if they want to,” she says, glad to be able to help her family, even though it has been estranged from her for years. ” “You mustn’t despair,” says Frieda. It is clear that she has been practicing that sentence for years, and now she can demonstrate that despair is indeed an illusion. “There’s always a way out. There’s always someone who loves you. ” Hugo looks at her closely, and to his surprise he discovers features of a little girl in her face.

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