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Age of Wonders

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The secure world of a well-established and apparently well-assimilated Jewish writer, in an Austrian town before World War II, disintegrates under the force of political and social realities that daily sanctify the old Austrian anti-Semitism. We learn what we learn through Bruno, the thirteen-year-old son of the family, whose spare and uninflected account discloses the slo ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1981)
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Touted as a "spare and uninflected account" I found this novel both poetic and beautifully written. The first two thirds, which deal with the coming of World War II in a small Austrian village, is full of interesting characters in sometimes too brief appearances. The final third, which finds the narrator returning after a 30 year absence, answers a few questions I didn't even think to ask. There have been plenty of harrowing accounts written about the holocaust. This isn't one of them, but rathe ...more
Brief and powerful. A mix between Kafka (the darkness that looms unexplained) and Proust (the glorious light that reminds the reader of Proust's description of the light on Chambray's church).
I read Book One. Really enjoyed it. Wonderfully written, believable that it is coming from the perspective of a 12 year old boy whose Bar Mitzvah is approaching. Set in the context of growing Antisemitism in early 1930s of Vienna, Austria, the book shows how this impacts the family members views, social standing, and priorities. You really get into it, once you've read about 20 pages.
David R. Godine
"A marvelous and disturbing book… an experience both painful and joyous." — Times Literary Supplement (London)

"A beautifully composed and profoundly moving work of fiction. No one surpasses Aharon Appelfeld in portraying the crisis of European civilization both before and after the second World War… He's one of the best novelists alive." — Irving Howe
Larisa Yagolnitser
I love this book. The first part describes the main character's life as a child before the holocaust, and then surprisingly, at least for me, in the second part he comes back to the town of his birth many year later and that's the part I love even better. It seems so true to life, yet very artfully written.
Wonderful, ethereal, Kafkaesque story of an Austrian Jewish family and how life in their village changed as the trains began to ship Jews to the East for camps and extermination. Also recommend "Badenheim 1939" by the same author.
i'd say 3 1/2 stars instead of 4...
this one is DEFINITELY better than Baddenheim 1939!
a good read for anyone interested in modern jewish identity.
Trans-historical expressionism, seen through the eyes of a child who remembers.
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AHARON APPELFELD is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Until the Dawn's Light and The Iron Tracks (both winners of the National Jewish Book Award) and The Story of a Life (winner of the Prix Médicis Étranger). Other honors he has received include the Giovanni Bocaccio Literary Prize, the Nelly Sachs Prize, the Israel Prize, the Bialik Prize, the Independent Fo ...more
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