Soul of Wood
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Soul of Wood

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Soul of Wood made Jakov Lind’s reputation as one of the most boldy imaginative postwar writers and it remains his most celebrated achievement. In the title novella and six subsequent stories, Lind distorts and refashions reality to make the deepest horrors of the twentieth century his own.



Set during World War II, “Soul of Wood” is the story of Wohlbrecht, a peg-legged vete...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by NYRB Classics (first published January 1st 1984)
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Chuck LoPresti
The most potent writing I've read in a long while. Lind is really unique and powerful. His language (in translation of course) is clear and fairly simple but vibrant and never anything less than incisive and essential. There is a very powerful mind at work here. At times he reminds me of Bruno Schulz in that both seamlessly transition into fantastic movements with graceful ease. But it's only in the language itself that you'll find much beauty in Lind. He's not a horror writer but he's horrifyin...more
Cody
Soul of Wood is excellent and the remaining pieces are ok to pretty good. thank you strand bookstore for this cool surprise even though you did not have anything else i was looking for

Only to tell you the truth, I really do have a rotting corpse in the woods. But between you and me, Professor, Wohlbrecht leaned over the table and whispered, I just say hocus-pocus and the corpse comes to life. I say a quick double hocus-pocus and he stands up and shakes my hand. If I want to make him dead again,...more
Bob
The son of Viennese Jews, Lind was moved to Holland in 1938 at the age of 11 and spent his war years both there and in Germany "passing" for a Gentile Dutchman.
This somewhat arbitrary way of having been spared seems to have shaped his literary sensibility which is imbued with absurdism and black humor.
Each story concerns someone in disguise (which mostly fools no one, as in the case of Jewish convert to Christianity, hidden in an Amsterdam hollow wall, expounding his new faith with Talmudic int...more
Adam
Each story here is a careening, delirious, madcap tour through the rattled soul of mid 20th century Europe. The collection’s greatest achievement is the titular novella in which a disabled veteran fights for survival in the absurdist inferno of Austria under the Third Reich where, finally, a handful of megalomaniacs compete to take possession of a sort of miraculous young Jew.
Cooper Renner
One novella, from which the title is taken, and a grouping of stories, the last of which, "Resurrection," is quite superb, about the friendship that develops between a young Jewish man and a middle-aged Jewish Christian who are both in hiding from the Nazis. There is an almost magic realism feel to much of what is here, a dark humor, a strong sense of the macabre.
Tony
SOUL OF WOOD. (1962; Eng. trans. 1964). Jakov Lind. ****.
This book consists of a novella, “Soul of Wood,” and six short stories. The true focus is the novella, with the short stories being, in my opinion, of relatively minor significance. In “Soul of Wood,” we meet Wohlbrecht, a man who is willing to carry out a request in order to secure the rights to some property after the war. The request is for him to take Anton Barth, a paralyzed deaf-mute to some place of safety to protect him from the N...more
Richard
Good, and well written, with a very bleak view of human nature - though not as soul-crushingly bleak as I was expecting from reading the back cover blurbs - the clear winner:
"Nihilistic, metallic, absurd. . . . Intricate, black, bestial. . . .” —Robert Mazzocco

The title story's actually more of a dark farce. The plot is appropriately cynical - after promising to continue to care for a jewish family's paralyzed son (in exchange for an apartment) as the mother and father are sent off to a concentr...more
Lucas
A good collection, but it didn't quite live up to the promise of the title novella, which is one of the most bizarre and entertaining things I've read in recent memory. Lind's ability to move between (and not so much mix) realism, fabulist allegory and outright surrealism is pretty amazing, and surprisingly not jarring. He's got the ingredients here for an all-time favorite (Nazi mental hospitals, witches, horse cadavers hanging from the rafters and more), but most of the short stories seemed li...more
Daniel
I greatly enjoyed the title novella for Lind's language and for the dark tones of the story. The rest of this collection proceeds in a similar vein of weird meanness and bizarre circumstances. In fact, these stories jump around the medium with no affinity for genre or categorization--and I love this elusive quality, dearly. Lind writes odd and wondrous fiction, and I am very happy to have read it.
Anja Declercq
In het Nederlands gelezen, gekocht voor 50 eurocent in het kringloopcentrum. Donkere humor en simpelweg een erg goed boek.
Ashley Mebert
Interesting premise in an otherwise predictable historical context. Plot transitions felt a little jarring (perhaps due to translation?) in way that made the novella feel a little disjointed and detached until the end.
Tara
This was written in a humourous/gentle way, which set an interesting tone/mood for the stories. I really enjoyed this book.
Eileen
Obscure, disturbing holocaust literature is a little hard to read on the train.
кєяo
Jan 19, 2013 кєяo marked it as unfinished-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
It was a marvelous book, but I hadn't time to finish it :(
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NYRB Classics: Soul of Wood, by Jakov Lind 1 2 Oct 30, 2013 06:42PM  
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  • The Lord Chandos Letter: And Other Writings
  • Adventures of Sindbad
  • Diary of a Man in Despair
  • My Fantoms
  • Short Letter, Long Farewell
  • The Vet's Daughter
  • Journey Into the Past
  • Irretrievable
  • The Fox in the Attic (The Human Predicament, #1)
  • The Moro Affair
  • Manservant and Maidservant
  • School for Love
  • No Tomorrow
  • The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays
  • The Stories of J.F. Powers
  • Mr. Fortune's Maggot
  • Dante: Poet of the Secular World (New York Review Books)
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