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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  130 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler's clandestine 'Lebensborn' project, which strove for a 'racially pu ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Maclehose
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The review below appears in The Quarterly Conversation, Issue 37:

In the opening passages of Daša Drndić’s Trieste, an elderly woman, Haya Tedeschi, sits in a rocking chair in her third story apartment in the Northern Italian town of Gorizia, close to the port of Trieste:

Is that the chair whimpering or is it me? She asks the deep emptiness, which, like every emptiness, spreads its putrid cloak in all directions to draw her i
Lisa Lieberman
Assembly required.

Daša Drndić says she spent two years researching this book. Much of that time seems to have been spent online, downloading documents from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's collection and other Holocaust related sites. Witness testimonies, lists of Jews deported from Italy or killed in the countries occupied by Italy (43 pages of names!), photocopied photographs inserted, W. G. Sebald-style, into the text, transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials, capsule bios of promin
Trieste, shortlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is a shattering book, even if you’ve already read a few books about the Holocaust. That’s because it brings those events firmly into the present, not neatly tucked away in the category of events some would rather forget. Daša Drndić’s powerful story repudiates anyone who thinks it’s ‘time to move on, it was all so long ago’. The book, in revealing the existence of the Nazi’s Lebensborn Program tells us that there are men and wom ...more
in this brilliant novel with its mix of archival and historical and the STORY of haya, a jewish woman in gorizia, just north of trieste, one sees techniques of bolanos 'nazi literature' Nazi Literature in the Americas, mixing historical fact with the historical novel but told from the present day (as sad and horrific as this novel is, there are some funny parts, the nazi blowup doll for soldiers to get their nut off, but not have to worry about going to town or getting a disease [never released ...more
An impressive work of "documentary fiction," a term I hadn't heard before but which describes the genre of "Trieste" perfectly. I've read little of the reality of WWII in Italy, and in the region of Trieste, where it was particularly fraught. The only concentration camp in Italy exists outside of the city. It's multi-ethnicity made it of particular interest to the Nazis, who along with Jews targeted its Slavs and leftists. The story is based on historical events and records, and taking the docum ...more
An impactful book, but not an easy read. Drndić's style is to veil the fictional narrative over actual historical facts: archival records; newspaper clippings; photographs, testimony from various war crimes tribunals, family trees. In the middle of the book Drndić lists 35 pages of the names of the 9,000 Jews deported from Italy or killed in Italy between 1943 and 1945. She also includes biographies of the SS – their backgrounds, their crimes, their court proceedings, and in too many cases, thei ...more
Kristin Henning
Jul 09, 2014 Kristin Henning rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristin by: Kit Naylor
I can only compare reading this book to reading poetry or James Joyce, an accelerated telling of Nazi crimes through many voices and an abundance of episodes. One story tumbles into another, to be interrupted by another, held together by the central "part Jewish" family from Gorizia (north of Trieste on the Italy-Slovenia border). Haya Tedeschi's family stories float in and out, just as the town moves alternately into Italian, German, and Austrian territory over time. Author Daša Drndič manages ...more
Jackie Molloy
Trieste is a City and seaport in north-eastern Italy it lies on a narrow strip of Italian territory which borders Slovenia and is very close to Croatia. Haya Tedeschi is an 82 year old woman who sits and waits for the son who was taken from her: on Monday, 30th April, 1945, Adolf and Eva kill themselves; Dachau is liberated by the Americans; and on Tuesday, 1 May the Yugoslav Army and the Slovenian 9th Corps march into Trieste. Who has the time to look for a stolen child? (page133)
Drndic tells,
D. Krauss
Devastating. That's my one word summary of this hard-to-read novel...oh, no, not because it's hard to read, but because of the story, which makes struggling through worth it.

And what a story. In essence, it is an old woman waiting for her son to find her--which is devastating enough--but the reasons for it, the reasons. Wow.

Ordinarily, any novel written with MFA-approved style gets my immediate and well-deserved thumbs down because it is technique at the expense of story. And this has all the MF
Lindsay Luke
This is an interesting and challenging book set near Trieste, Italy and taking place between the early 20th century and the early 21st century. The main protagonist is Haya, a Jewish woman born just after WWI. First, the story of her parents is told. They are secular Jews living in Austria-Hungary. They struggle through the war and the area they live in becomes part of Italy. Haya grows up not particularly caring about politics or noticing what is going on as Nazis come to power. As a young woma ...more
Uwe Hook
Dasa Drndic is a Croatian novelist using an interesting combination of history and fiction to tell an unforgettable story that is often ignored in stories of WWII. The Lebensborn Project was designed by Himmler to increase the Aryan gene pool by stealing blonde hair, blue-eyed children and by forcing pregnancies by selecting the parents and using secret adoptions of these children into strong Nazi homes. This hidden Project is brought out in the later chapters by Drndic and completes the circle ...more
This is definitely not the book that you want to take to the beach for some light summer reading. Trieste is hard to describe, but I can pretty much guarantee that Drndic's writing style and the subject matter will require most readers to do some heavy lifting. To say that this is a novel of the holocaust in northeastern Italy would be an oversimplification. It does center on the holocaust, sometimes graphically, but it also addresses other issues that hit home with me because they are for the m ...more
This is a shattering read filled with circumvention. Everything is written inside/out and without much chronological order or steady language use that might be considered a "normal" progression. Every violation over decades is all present tense. And so you "get" the horrific angst of living without sanctuary or flitting/ blending/ hiding from/to/with the constantly shifting violence and death arising from 3 combatting governmental and politico identities. German, Italian, Slovenian? And the lang ...more
Ik dacht, dat ik al zo'n beetje alles gelezen had over de 2de wereldoorlog, maar in dit boek vond ik weer veel nieuws. Het is een roman: een oude vrouw in Gorizia (vlakbij Trieste) is op zoek naar het kind, dat zij aan het eind van de oorlog had van een SS officier en dat haar werd ontstolen. Dat is een vrij dun verhaal, maar er doorheen leer je alles over het wegvoeren van de joden uit Italie en vooral op het eind van de oorlog uit de regio rond Trieste. Veel over de kampen en hun beulen, maar ...more
Bob Mendelsohn
I was distracted by the author's use of present tense throughout the book. Never allowed things to be put in time separation. Also it read more like a history text book than a novel. I was very hopeful over and over, but constantly disappointed. Sorry, cannot recommend it at all.
A challenging read - both with regard to the subject matter and the writing style. While slow going (in part because sometimes you just have to put down the book to escape - which almost feels unfair or wrong given that the victims couldn't do the same), I think there was a value to the pacing...and the way in which the book was constructed definitely contributed to that. At times I did find the structure confusing and frustrating (particularly as the various stories and voices jump from one to ...more
Dale Pobega
I came across "Trieste" in 2012 and was surprised to discover there was some controversy surrounding its credentials. Because my own family comes from Trieste and were touched by particular events related in the book, I put it aside disturbed by the claims.

A book titled "Trieste - the True Story" by Frank Gent, 2012, (also available on Amazon) is claimed by its author to ...

"form the basis for the first 130 pages of the book 'Trieste' by Dasa Drndic (also published in other languages under the
I wanted so badly to love this book. Perhaps I would have if I had more patience and didn't have to work for a living. I only read the first 25%, because I had to keep re-reading to figure out who was who. I found the realistic day-to-day description of Italian fascism fascinating and banal. However there were so many stories, and each of them would be enough for one novel. I don't disagree with the more positive reviews, I just think as much could have been accomplished with more simplicity and ...more
There are so many WWII novels still being written, one would think it was nearly impossible for someone to come up with a fresh perspective on the horrors of the war. Drndic's Trieste is therefore notable both for quasi-documentary technique and the main subjects of the story, the war experience in Slovenia and the Lebensborn program. The thrust of the story revolves around the main character's search for her son, stolen away by his SS father.

The novel is in two parts: the first describes the de
Mar 21, 2014 Patricia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Book groups; historical fiction
This book is gripping, raw, tragic, and not for the faint of heart. It is an eloquently written piece of historical fiction and is heavily laced with historical facts, photographs, a list of names of 9,000 Italian Jews exterminated between 1943-1945, interviews from the Nuremberg trials, SS biographies, detailed information on the Lebensborn program, and exposes the roles of "neutral Switzerland", the Catholic Church and the International Red Cross during and after the war.
It is a profound work
Bee Halton
Attention spoilers:

I know I repeat myself: This is one of the books that really challenged me.
I found it pretty boring in the beginning where she starts telling the history of the area around Trieste and Goricia today half in Italy and half in Slovenia from WW1 on.

This is an area I am not particularly interested in and I am also not particularly interested in WW1. But reading on I realised that this must have been the area that my grandfather was in when WW2 ended and with the more personal co
This book was not what I expected. Is it historical fiction? Is it non-fiction? A thoroughly confusing book, the author would have done the reader a service by determining which she wanted to write. Lists, photos and footnotes all up to a most frustrating novel (?). I would love to learn the story of Trieste, an almost forgotten chapter of a most unforgettable period of history. A shame, really, because this book had so much potential.
Decades and generations after the Holocaust swept through the multicultural northern Adriatic corner of Italy, culpability with the Nazis must be shared by many: neighborhood shirkers and snitches, rapacious industrialists, parish priests and popes, Swiss bankers, the Red Cross, Nuremberg jurists, and even the Lebensborn orphans spawned or stolen for their perfect Aryan features. No passes are granted for Jews who converted or those who bargained with the death machine as barbers, dentists, or c ...more
Judy Chessin
This didn't strike me as a novel, but rather a collection of testimony and facts with a basic plot holding it together. I never tire of this topic, so it was still a "great" read, however it took me a long time to finish. Until the end, that is. I was most fascinated with the Lebensborn program. At the point that this topic came up, I couldn't put it down and I kept thinking, "I didn't know that." The cultivating of a new master race, is something we know too little about! Read the book for this ...more
Compelling, challenging read
Check out this book we may think we know of WWW2 atrocities and betrayals. We do not. This was all wriiten in present tense? Once you power through the first 3 or 4 chapters it becomes engrossing. May have been easier read in the original Croatian.
It is good, but it is very, very hard to read. All those testimonies of horror, killing, cruelty. All those names of children killed like lambs. All the murders and the gorging on the death of defenseless people. All the trials and then the statements that those killers die peacefully in their sleeps with no regrets whatsoever. I always stay away of this kinds of books because they traumatize me a lot. I will have to spends many hours at night trying to soak it off. Poor people. And the worst is ...more
I am not sure what the purpose of this book was. It was very challenging to follow. There was a lot of factual information but when it brought up the fictional person, it made me discount the rest of the book. There is no doubt that the stories of the Holocaust are true, but this book did not present it well. It interlinked fact & fiction so much that it was hard to interpret.
Trieste was an intense read. There were many times where I needed to put it down and take a break. This novel was a different reading experience, due to the many different elements incorporated into the novel, to tell thie story of the Holocaust, in this fictional story about a woman who is searching for her son that she had with a Nazi SS officer. The author weaves in actual trial transcripts, witness testimony, biographies, photos, revelations about Switzerland, the Red Cross, Catholic Church, ...more
Neil Bomberg
Superb, challenging and ultimately terrifying, this book brings to life the horrors of the Holocaust for all survivors, whether Jewish or not, and the struggle that all must engage in the search for their own redemption. It is beautifully written and elegantly constructed; a novel that cannot be put down. I highly recommend it.
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#supporttranslate...: #IFFP read July 2013 ~ Trieste by Dasa Drndic 3 3 Aug 08, 2013 02:41AM  
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DASA DRNDIC is a distinguished Croatian novelist, playwright, and literary critic. She spent some years teaching in Canada and gained an MA in Theatre and Communications as part of the Fulbright Program. She is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Rijeka.
More about Daša Drndić...
Leica format Sonnenschein April u Berlinu Belladonna Marija Czestochowska još uvijek roni suze ili Umiranje u Torontu

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