Czech Author Dies, Novels Live On

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
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After Czech writer, Arnost Lustig, died last March at the age of 84, a friend put me on to his novels. I’ve just completed two, A Prayer for Katerina Horovitzova and Lovely Green Eyes. Both are set against the backdrop of a world gone mad in the Holocaust of WWII. Lustig should know; he was the survivor of several death camps.

These books are not for the faint of spirit. Lustig writes of the unimaginable in a spare, lean, revealing style,  sugarcoating nothing and placing a human face on everything. And most of all he exposes the evil human inclination become flesh. If you don’t want to revisit just how diabolical our species can become, move on down the book rack to another selection.

There are many publications I enjoy for different reasons. Some inform and some challenge me. Others delight with humor and the day-to-day pleasantries of a time gone by. Lustig’s books are none of these and I don’t enjoy them. One can’t enjoy his books in terms of pleasure because they are not pleasurable. Rather, they are profound. And not everything that is profound makes you want to skip through the sunflowers. Some makes you weep, or gasp, or ask, “What is the human creature? How can this be? Are there any words to describe it?”

These books are not for everybody. But they are for everybody.

  1. Menina says:

    As unsettling as Lustig’s subject matter may be, the human race still needs those who will give us a smack between the eyes with a metaphorical 2X4 to assure that we don’t become calloused to the existence of such evil. Those surviving in Rwanda and Somalia might wonder, if they had the luxury of doing so, how we can be so horrified at the events of the Holocaust and simultaneously so oblivious to those purveying evil on the African continent.

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