Awake in the Dark
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Awake in the Dark

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  168 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Bold and deeply affecting, "Awake in the Dark" is a provocative and haunting work of fiction about who we are and how we are formed by history. These luminous stories portray the contemporary lives of the children of Holocaust victims and perpetrators as they struggle with the legacy of their parents -- their questions of identity, family, and faith. "Awake in the Dark" is...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Scribner Book Company (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Micheal Fraser
I was amazed, no, powerfully moved by these stories.
They tended to intensify as I read. The one thing that
fascinated me most was the subject of silence. It
informed all of the stories. If you cannot speak of
something, you remain silent, or something like that
according to Nietzsche.

I have noticed this before, for example in Elizabeth
Rosner's The Speed of Light in which the father's
silence about what happened to him during the war
effected his two children in such radical ways.

There is som...more
Shira Nayman was a clinical psychologist in Australia before turning to writing fiction and landing in (where else?) Brooklyn. She has written a couple of novels since this collection of three thematically linked stories and a novella was published in 2006 and one can only hope that the failings here are rookie mistakes and she has matured in her more recent work.

All these stories involve children of survivors of the Holocaust and/or the war in Germany struggling to come to terms with their pare...more
Linda Lipko

This is a book of short stories, superbly written. Each story is a tale of the holocaust seen through the eyes of the children of the survivors. The most powerful story is The House o fKronenstrasse wherein a daughter who, after her mother dies, returns to Germany. Seeking her childhood home, she discovers a powerful secret.

This book is tagged as a series of short stories, however it is more like 3 short stories that lead you into a short novel. Though none of the stories are directly related, all are stories that stem from Nazi Germany, all bringing different light and touching on different experiences of the period. I am not sure how my obsession of this time period came about, but this book brings so many different situations to life. Brilliantly written, and absolutely bone chilling. Dark Urgings of of the Bloo...more
This book will shake you to the core, particularly the last story "dark urgings of the blood".
Nayman is a brilliant storyteller, able to draw the reader deep into the scene through her effective use of telling the story in present tense in the first person voice of the central character, the daughter of a parent with dark secrets.
I could not put this book down, and having just finished the last story, I can still feel my fingers shaking as I type this review.
Sep 17, 2008 Cheri rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Cheri by: Ursula Hegi
Shelves: favorites
Hauntingly beautiful stories of family secrets hidden and revealed during and after the Holocaust. One of the few books I would say is a must-read.

Powerful and heartbreaking, Shira Nayman weaves together people and events into vignettes of life and shadows. Her words are spare and thoughtful, and the results are devastating.

I read and reread her stories over and over again... her words stay with you long after you've closed the pages.
Jonathan Rosas
It's hard to find a book to really WOW me but this book did just that. Every story just kept getting better and better and the twists at the end of each story were just amazing, and sent chills up my spine every time. I recommended this book to every body and would re read it over and over again.
Dec 13, 2010 Keri rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I am not a big fan of short stories but these were really good! A collection of 4 total, the first 3 being a bit shorter and the last reading more like a novel. The last one, Dark Urgings of the Blood, took the overall score for me to a 4 or 4.5, maybe even 5. I really liked it, couldn't put it down infact. The first 3 were good but the last one was really captivating. An interesting premise for these short stories. All were well written and engaging. Dark subject matter for sure about a time in...more
Shira Nayman is a clinical psychologist and holds a Master's degree in English. She is a gifted writer.

This is a book unlike any other I have read about the Halocaust. It's a psychological thriller about the effects of the Holocaust on generations of families. It effectively shows the way this "history" effects the perpetrators and the victims of the Halocaust..and how it ocntinues to effect future generations of the family as secrets surface and are faced. Each story contains an unexpected twis...more
I don't often read short stories, as I like the greater depth of story and characters that a longer book allows. However, these stories are so well written that I read through this volume quickly. The novella that ends the group is a fore-runner of "The Listener", by this same author; both are set in psychiatric long-term facilities, in a rural area outside Manhattan. In both, psychiatrist and patient sometimes switch roles, and the therapists are left shaken by their encounters with certain pat...more
Haunting...literally. I had nightmares almost the whole time I was reading this book. But, it made me think and question, which is always good. I wonder if I would have gotten more out of it if I had some knowledge of Jewish mysticism/Kabalah. That seemed to be a common thread in all of the stories, how the past and present are intertwined and how we possess a "knowing" far beyond the rational. On a personal level, I was most touched by the stories of mothers and daughters. The mothers made impo...more
Jul 26, 2007 Joy rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: those interested in Holocaust stories
This was an excellent book. I would highly recommend it to all my friends. This is a collection of four fictional short stories that are based on events that could have happened; the author certainly knows her Holocaust history. The stories are about the children of Holocaust survivors, and how the experiences of the parents have impacted their children. A very good read, indeed!
I've read a ton of holocaust literature and this one is by far the most interesting I've read in awhile.

The stories reveal the tragedy of the Germans as well as other victims of the Nazis including the Jews.

The last story did not hang well for me.. it didn't make any sense in terms of being very possible.

But as a whole, the book was great.
Cathy Standish
Shira Nayman's four short stories read more like a series of parables than prose. Each thematic tale comes with a twist and turn, often dark, many times churning. Offering intellectual food for thought, "Awake in the Dark" will keep your mind wondering and asking, "do I want to fall asleep in a world that allowed humanity to fall so low?"
Martha J.
I'm having a hard time writing a review, because the book was good, but terribly sad, too. It's interesting to read a story, as told from the perspective of a person who was a victim during the Holocaust, and then to read about the perspective of the perpetrators, too. Very intriguing and hard to put down.
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories (3 short stories; 1 novella). Yes, they were about a difficult subject--survivors of the Holocaust (both Jew and German)--but the author's writing style was superb and I was completely captivated by the stories. I'd be interested in reading more by this author.
Somre really good writing, all having to do with the legacy of Natzi Germany during World War 2. This book contains several short stories involving the children of World War 2 survivors who look to their parents to make sense of today and make sense of their faith. Lots of psychological drama.
I can't believe this book has been sitting on my shelf for years, unread. These haunting stories are a must-read for anyone Jewish but I think everyone could appreciate them. Just don't expect to be able to sleep after reading these stories of the legacy of the Holocaust.
Oct 24, 2007 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Ann
this is an extraordinary collection of short stories regarding holocaust survivors and their families. It is moving. I enojyed the stories and the fact that you could easily read one and put it down for a while if you have other things competing for your time. enjoy.
Incredibly sad and moving. I must say I enjoyed the shorter stories in the first half of the book much more than the second half of the book, which was one long story. I found the story in the second half of the book to be a little too "fantastical."
Stories about children of Holocaust victims and how their lives intersect with the Nazi's/Germans. Four short stories and one very long. Three of the four were extremely moving and powerful. I couldn't put it down and read the whole book in one sitting.
An important book to read - to get a perspective on the Holocaust and the continuing cost to its survivors and generations afterward. I did not know it was a collection of short stories beforehand, but that format worked out quite well.
House on Kronnenstrasse is good, there are elements that I don't find believable, but it's a lot better than the typical MFA stories I sometimes read and wonder, what is the point of this story? Why am I reading it?
This book will have me looking a little closer to short stories, that I normally stay clear of. The novelette at the end of the book was especially interesting and kept me up late to see how it would all come together.
This was a provocative book that is worth the read. As I have gotten older, I appreciate the skill that it takes to write a good short story and this author uses the genre deftly.
Terribly sad stories about Nazi Germany told from the point of view of family members. Fictional, but highly plausible. Not for the weak! These stories are extremely powerful.
Lisa Beck
There were several short stories relating to the children of Halocaust survivors. The last story was a little long and predictable, but otherwise an interesting read.
Engrossing characters in unthinkable situations. Holocaust survival from the point of view of victim or perpetrater in the past as well as the present.
Why did so many mediocre writers take M. Night Shyamalan to heart? In a book of short stories, really one major plot twist. Please! Not one per story.
Heidi Stevens
This is not the type of book I would normally read, but the stories are compelling. I found this to be a quick read, but the stories will last much longer.
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