A collection of moving, chiseled prose narratives--from both first- and secondhand experiences--covering genocidal atrocities by the Nazis, Soviets, and others in several countries. Delbo's second book to be translated into English, this first appeared in French in 1985, shortly after her death. (Her first English-language book was the striking None of Us Will Return, published early enough--1968--for a Birkenau and Auschwitz survivor's memoir to be a literary event.) The two dozen pages of poetry here are not written (or translated) remarkably well. Delbo's poetic prose, however, carries these personal narratives to the level of literature. Machine-gunned corpses had fallen ""like drunks"" atop each other; the rain in Birkenau came ""laden with soot from the crematoriums, and with the odor of burning flesh."" The most poignant scenes depict a Gypsy woman being beaten to death for refusing to give up her already dead newborn, a nurse coping with a shipment of limbless casualties arriving in baskets, and a Greek village climbing into a ravine to sort out their massacred husbands and fathers. Literature was Delbo's ""prime strategy for survival"" in the worst of times; her posthumous literary survival attests to the success of this strategy.
Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1990
Page Count: -
Publisher: Marlboro--dist. by Consortium (213 East 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55101)