A remarkable testament to faith in the face of suffering. Zvi Kolitz is a Lithuanian Jew who left Europe in 1940 for Jerusalem, where he built a life as a daring Zionist freedom fighter. Just over a year after WWII ended, he wrote a gut-wrenching short story, —Yosl Rakover Talks to God,— the last confessions of a fictional Jewish man who died in the Warsaw Ghetto. The story ran in Di Yiddishe Tsaytung, a Jewish paper in Buenos Aires, on September 25, 1946. Later, Kolitz moved to New York, penned a few obscure books, contributed columns to The Jewish Week and Der Algemeine Journal, and lectured at Yeshiva University (you—ll still find him there each Wednesday). His short story, however, got separated from its author. It began to circulate, sans Kolitz’s byline, as a true testimony unearthed in the Holocaust’s aftermath. In 1954, Di Goldene Keyt, a Yiddish quarterly in Tel Aviv, ran —Yosl Rakover— as —an authentic document.— The next year, it was broadcast on a Berlin radio station, and was run in the Parisian Zionist journal La Terre RetrouvÇe. Thomas Mann praised the text for offering a rare glimpse into the human condition. This volume reunites author and story, laying to rest any rumors that the document was written by someone who died in the Warsaw Ghetto. The story could stand alone: Rakover, who boldly privileges Torah over God, declares that despite everything God has done to —make me cease to believe in You . . . I die exactly as I have lived, an unshakeable believer in You.— This new edition also includes an essay by Paul Badde about Kolitz, a piece by Levinas about —Yosl Rakover,— and Leon Weiseltier’s somewhat anticlimactic reply to Levinas. The short story remains a fiction, but, as Levinas reminds us, that does not undermine its truth: Indeed, it is true as —only fiction can be.—

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 1999

ISBN: 0-375-40451-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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