Monday, June 08, 2009

Kahn & Engelmann

Over at Jew Wishes, they've reviewed Hans Eichner's Kahn & Engelmann, giving it a rave treatment. For the whole review -- and it is worth reading in its entirety -- please go here. Below, the usual excerpt:

Eichner is a true Jewish story teller, in every sense. Some compare him to Proust, and I can understand why they do, due to Eichner’s amazingly beautiful word paintings. His insight into Jewish life and Jewish guilt is profound. Eichner’s fondness for Jewish humor shines through, as he injects it throughout the novel, through Jewish stories and fables. If his writing reminds me of anyone, it would be Sholem Aleichem. But, I digress, because I do not like to compare one author to another, as I prefer reading an author for their own merit.

There is no comparison, in my opinion, on the brilliance of Eichner’s writing. His depiction of Jewish daily life and Jewish traditions is written with forthrightness, yet with a voice that is unsentimental. Kahn & Engelmann is much more than a familial tapestry. It is a novel that depicts the hardships of three generations of a family caught in struggles to survive, not only in a country no longer their original homeland, but struggle within the family dynamics of envy, desire, financial survival, love and loss, and the struggle to survive the Holocaust. The story honors those Viennese Jews who had to flee their homeland due to annexation to Nazi Germany.

Hans Eichner has written a novel of historic proportions, with minute details that astound the mind. Kahn & Engelmann, although a novel, will remain in my mind for quite some time. It is not only intriguing and fascinating, but is a masterful work. The scenes depicted are not only illuminating, but also a testament of life within the imagery. In my opinion, it is an important work of not only Holocaust Literature, but historical Literature, and is beautifully written tribute to the Jews of Vienna. Once I began it, I was engrossed until I finished the last page. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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