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Judaica
The Emperor of Lies
 
 
Author
Steve Sem-Sandberg. Sarah Death, trans.
Publisher FSG  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.25 inches
ISBN 9780374139643
Pages/Publication Date 672/2011
Daedalus Item Code 40533
List Price: $30.00
Sale Price: $3.98
You Save: $26.02
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Description
(Winner of Sweden's August Prize; finalist for Switzerland's Jan Michalski Prize for Literature; a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2011) When the Nazis organized the large Jewish ghetto at Lódz in 1940 Poland, they appointed 63-year-old businessman and orphanage director Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski to be its leader. Soon the Jews there were producing goods for Germany's army and citizens—but was the authoritarian Rumkowski an ambitious opportunist, a pragmatic survivor, or a man making his people too valuable to kill? Swedish journalist and novelist Steve Sem-Sandberg offers this stunning fictional portrait of Rumkowski's Lódz; Dickensian in its broad cast of characters, it is based on such records as the ghetto's own newspaper.

"This extraordinary work of fiction is a historical novel in a deeper than the usual sense, since the author concedes that truth rather than fiction supplies the crucial detail that directs our moral vision…. Sem-Sandberg's success lies in the way he conveys the moral tragedy not in retrospect but in its duration. As well as any other novelist of the Holocaust, he conveys someone else's nihilism as your experience, answering dehumanization with modest and convincing portraits of humanity."—Times Literary Supplement

"This is fiction of true moral force, brilliantly sustained and achieved. It helps us to do what is so hard, simply to think about the Holocaust. Normally, the mind sheers away in horror after exposure to the accumulation of grueling detail and to the ungraspable weight of the statistics. It is so difficult to focus our imagination, our empathy, and Sem-Sandberg provides a way for us to do that, guiding the reader through the mass of information to the human heart of these appalling events. Fiction here is operating at its best, to close the gap between past and present, between them and us: not through sentiment, but through real understanding. This is a stunning achievement and one to be applauded. I have lived with the book over several days, feeling I was living inside it, even dreaming about it.... I find it difficult to think of any book that has had such an immediate and powerful impact on me."—Hilary Mantel

 
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