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The Pork Butcher

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  33 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
"The Pork Butcher is finally, bravely, a meditation on fate--not the dimestore novel varieties of kismet or serendipity but Fate as the ancients conceived of it, a rubric for the shape of a life takes, and the confounding bargains one strikes."--David Barber, Boston Review
Paperback, 123 pages
Published April 21st 1998 by New Amsterdam Books (first published April 1st 1984)
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I read this book in a single sitting. The writing is beautifully descriptive, especially when evoking locations and a memorable picnic. Though short (120 pages), the novel is not slight, addressing as it does the question of German guilt through the story of former Wehrmacht soldier Ernst Kestner. He returns to the (fictional) village of Lascaud where, one hot June afternoon under orders, he did something that has consumed him ever since, a massacre based on Oradour-sur-Glane. I've said it over ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Aileen rated it really liked it
Ernst Kestner, a pork butcher in Lubeck, packs up and drives to Paris, picks up his estranged married daughter and takes her away for a few days. They head for Lascaud-sur-Marn, a small town which saw atrocities during the war. Along the way Ernst tells her the reason they are going there, he has a story he wants to get off his chest before his cancer finishes him.

Based loosly on the true story of Oradour-sur-Glane, this is a very powerful short novel that is all the more horrific in the everyda
Apr 19, 2013 Makereta rated it it was amazing
I believe they made a film of this book some time ago and I would be curious to see it. This is a brilliantly written tale about guilt and reconciliation. Ernst Kestner, a pork butcher in Lubeck, is driving back to the small French village where he spent the summer of 1944. For 40 years Kestner has kept secret his memories both of janni, his French lover,and of the atrocity which brought his time in Lescaud-sur-Marn to an end. But now, in view of the state of his lungs, there is no need for secr ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
Low 4. This short, undiscovered, gem of a novel concerns the poignant return of Ernst Kestner, a pork butcher from Lubeck, to the scene of a terrible atrocity of the Second World War in which he took part. Unable to escape the nightmarish memories of these distant events from his military service in occupied France, he must confront the ghosts of his past, accompanied by his daughter, who is oblivious of his dark past. An accomplished and sensitive portrayal of a delicate subject, this novel des ...more
Mar 25, 2009 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
the aftermath of WW2 and the guilt/grief of one man who goes back to France to atone. Pretty good as I remember, but not always convincing.
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