Emil and Karl

Emil and Karl

I’m actually reading David Lodge’s Thinks… still, but couldn’t resist Emil and Karl when I saw the book at Borders. The following is the blurb:

VIENNA, 1938. Two boys, one Jewish, one not, fend for themselves after their parents are taken away by the Nazis. Emil and Karl, best friends, are brave and loyal in a world of persecution and cruelty. Courageous strangers risk their lives to help these defenceless children.

First published in 1940, Yankev Glatsheyn’s Emil and Karl is an eerily moving glimpse of the worst of the Holocaust to come.

In his elegant translation from the original Yiddish, Jeffrey Shandler brings us this literary gem in English for the first time.

Emil and Karl is a heart-wrenching story of friendship and survival in a time of hate. It will resonate with readers of all ages.

The story was originally written for young readers, however it will make an impact whether you are 12 or 72 especially with the amount of hatred, prejudice and distrust thesedays. Emil and Karl is very easy to read and paced quite briskly. I also appreciate the writing style that is relatively free of over-dramatisation or over-sentimentalisation. When the boys were forced to scrub the street with their bare hand, the incident was related in a matter-of-fact way that only makes it more impactful.

The book has certainly provoked thoughts and emotions especially since I visited the Jüdisch Museum and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Anne Frankshuis in Amsterdam, and the Old Jewish Cemetery and several synagogues in Prague … If you want an easy to read, thought provoking book, Emil and Karl would be an excellent choice.


Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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