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Appelfeld, Aharon

(Israeli, 1932– )

Born in Chernovtsy in the Ukraine, as a boy Appelfeld escaped from a concentration camp and hid in woodlands for three years. He arrived in Palestine in 1947 and became a lecturer in Hebrew, the language in which he writes. Begin with Badenheim 1939 (1981), set at the onset of the Holocaust. The book evokes the break-down of identity among those awaiting the journey to the camps. The Age of Wonders (1987) opens with a child's account of life in a family of Austrian Jews in the 1930s. Thirty years later he seeks out his home, to encounter an awareness of terrible change. A woman and her son leave behind her marriage in Vienna in To the Land of the Reeds (1987). It is 1938, and they become lost and separated as they travel northwards through an increasingly vague world of confusion and understated menace.

Primo Levi, Ivan Klima  DH

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