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Jakob the Liar

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,219 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
One of the most remarkable novels of the Holocaust ever written, Jakob the Liar is a tale of everyday heroism and the extraordinary power of illusion. Set in an unnamed German-occupied ghetto, the story centers on an unlikely hero, Jakob Heym, who accidentally overhears news of vital importance: the Russians are advancing on a city three hundred miles away. As Jakob's tidi ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Plume (first published 1969)
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Alex Baugh
May 05, 2011 Alex Baugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
First, forget everything you may remember about the movie Jacob the Liar with Robin Williams. That movie is totally NOT representative of this excellent novel.

Read the book instead.

Jacob the Liar takes place in the Łódź Ghetto in 1944. Returning home from work one night, Jacob Heym is caught in the spotlight of a guard who tells Jacob he is out past the 8 o’clock curfew and to report to the military office for a “well deserved” punishment. As he walks the corridor of the military building, not k
David Ramirer
Feb 07, 2014 David Ramirer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
eines der bücher, das sich ganz sanft ins herz hineinwebt, von der ersten seite an.
ich liebe ja bücher, die es ohne grober moralkeule, und ohne moralisch gefestigtem supermenschenhelden schaffen, neue sichtweisen zu eröffnen. in diesem buch ist es der begriff der lüge, der völlig neu überdacht werden muss, wenn er in einem kontext gesehen werden kann, den dieses buch darlegt.
die zentrale figur des buches - jakob heym - erfindet eigentlich in einem kurzen moment der unbedachtheit als notlüge ein
yellow tree
Mar 27, 2009 yellow tree rated it really liked it
Shelves: prose
coldest darkness in bright colors; that's how i would describe that book in a few words. after getting over the first couple of pages, which were rather arduous, the suspense grew and grew until it almost became unbearable. the characters at first seemed fairly strange, but the farther i got the more i could hope and feel desperate with them. the pressure that lay on jakob grew insufferable to both him and the reader. some rather comical scenes made the gloom which ran through the whole book eve ...more
Là, dove sono stato io, non si è avuta nessuna resistenza.

Jakob il bugiardo è una riflessione sulla verità, sulla bugia, sulla natura della realtà. Un narratore anonimo racconta, molti anni dopo gli avvenimenti stessi, la storia di Jakob, entrambi costretti nel ghetto di Lodz durante l'occupazione nazista. Il romanzo utilizza l'assurdo come arma principale: in un mondo stravolto, dove la fame l'umiliazioni e le vessazioni psicologiche e fisiche sono più che quotidiane, il nostro narratore sottol
Elizabeth (Alaska)
There are many holocaust stories out there, but this is an aspect I have not encountered. The Germans are, for the most part, nameless. The Jews are in the ghetto with lives and relationships and fear and despair. It is about one man's courage and how it can affect an entire community.

I was surprised this took me a bit longer to read than I had anticipated. I don't know if the translation isn't just terrific or the author's writing style was harder for me to adjust to. I can truthfully say I fou
فقط یه چیزی رو توی قصه نفهمیدم که اگه بگم هم شاید داستان لو بره، در نتیجه اگه از دوستان کسی خونده بهم بگه ازش بپرسم
Amy Hustead
Mar 08, 2013 Amy Hustead rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book and great movie!!!
Jackie Bertsch
Sep 16, 2011 Jackie Bertsch rated it really liked it
Jakob the Liar is about a Jewish man who is being held in a Ghetto. When he gets into trouble with a German look out he is forced to go into the Military office where he hears news that the Red Army is getting close to the Ghetto where he is being held prisoner. He is so excited he has to tell someone, he tells his friend Mischa, Jackob can't just tell him he went to the Military office so he makes up a lie and tells Mischa he has a radio. It snowballs after that he doesn't wasnt to give the peo ...more
Jan 23, 2014 Maryann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1001
Jakob lives in the ghetto, as WWII rages on and the Germans persecute him and the rest of the Jews. He accidentally hears a report that the Russians have reached a town not terribly far away and spreads the news to his neighbors and friends. When asked how he came by this information, he told them he had a radio (because they wouldn't have believed how he REALLY heard it). He perpetuates his initial lie and becomes a beacon of hope for the ghetto, but to what end? Is he feeding them false hope? ...more
Mohamadreza Rahnama
داستان همان داستان هيتلر و يهود با روايتي تازه است . عده اي از يهودي ها در شهركي تحت نظارت آلماني ها زندگي مي كنند . البته اين زندگي تحت قوانين و شرايط بسيار سخت و نا اميدكننده اي است . روزي بر حسب اتفاق يعقوب يكي از يهوديان در قرارگاه آلماني ها رفته و جمله اي در مورد روند نبرد آلمان و روسيه مي شنود . او فردا اين خبر را پخش كرده و عنوان مي كند كه برخلاف قوانين راديويي دارد كه از طريق آن از اخبار آگاه مي شود . بدين ترتيب يعقوب به نوعي ناجي تبديل شده و به دروغ در دل مردم اميد قرار مي دهد..
کتاب نسب
May 26, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is there such a thing as a good lie? Whenever this question comes up, I imagine that most people can agree that white lies are fine. Without them, we’d probably be perpetually annoyed with one another. But when the lies get bigger, it becomes harder and harder to say if a lie is justified—a “good” lie—or not. Jacob Heym, the unwitting hero of Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar, wasn’t thinking about whether his lie was a good one or not when he told it. Jacob’s lie just slipped out. But his lie chang ...more
Azadeh sharifi
سرد بود و غمگین
یادم روزنامه خوان خودم افتادم که هنوز جایی میان فایل هاست... و تواردی که از رفرنس دادن ناگزیرم می کند
حس نوشتن نیست، فقط الان می فهمم جز فلسفه چه چیزب مرا به این آلمانی ها نزدیک می کند... این که تحمل می کنند، و تحمل می کنند و باز هم تحمل می کنند
نه صبورند و نه مومن
تنها مغرور تر ) در صورت لزوم پرروتر خوانده شود( از آن اند که بشکنند
کم بیاورند
با تشکر از نرگس معینی
Oct 24, 2014 Piperitapitta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una mistificazione della verit, il tentativo di nascondere una realt inaccettabile, un barlume di speranza che si accende all'improvviso?
La bugia di Jakob una bugia bianca come una nuvola d'ovatta, di quelle dette non per far male, ma per aiutare a sperare nel domani e risollevare un'intera comunit dalla difficolt di "vivere senza un futuro".
Jakob il bugiardo - del quale esistono ben due riduzioni cinematografiche: la prima del 1975 premiata al Festival di Berlino per il miglior attore protag
Feb 28, 2016 Alessandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro che il prof. Antonio Pasinato citava sempre nelle sue lezioni, ma che non avrei mai pensato di leggere prima di vederne la costa nell'header del blog di Nereia, "Librangolo Acuto".
L'ambientazione è il ghetto ebraico della cittadina polacca di Lodz durante la seconda guerra mondiale. Il commerciante Jakob, in seguito a una serie di fortuite circostanze, si vede costretto a rivelare ai compagni che possiede una radio e che i russi stanno combattendo (e vincendo) a poche decine di km da lì
Apr 30, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. When I started it I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to read it. The paragraphs are very long and it has a rather different style. But it didn't take long before I was hooked and I stayed hooked. It has a rather quirky style, in a way just a little reminiscent of "The Book Thief" - death is not the narrator, just a normal human being, but it's not your standard narration. That is part of what makes it so entertaining once you get used to it.

There are no violent scenes
Jul 17, 2015 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of school lecture, wouldn't have read it otherwise. It was bearable, but I do not particularly favor Becker's writing style for a few reasons, the main one being that the writes using relatively simple wording, but still ends up producing clunky and tiresome sentence constructions. It wasn't exactly a smooth read and took me a long time to finally get it over with, but it also had its high and low points. The idea of utilizing different narrators adds complexity to the work, but the positiv ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it
For a novel with such a serious background, Jakob the Liar is astonishingly light hearted. The deft writing style of Becker manages to mix the lightness of hope with the dreadful happenings of Nazi Europe with a rare skill producing a novel that is both funny and devastating in equal turns. When Jakob is wrongly sent to the German headquarters in his Jewish ghetto, he accidentally overhears a radio announcement that the Russians are defeating the Germans in a town only 200 miles away. When he re ...more
Patrick Robitaille

**** 1/2

In a Polish ghetto towards the end of WWII, Jakob accidentally comes across an uplifting piece of information: the Russian Army has progressed to within a few hundred kilometres from their town. Fearing that he wouldn't be believed when telling his Jewish neighbours and friends, he creates the first lie (he heard it from his radio set) which would lead to so many others, shielding them from the truth while providing them hope that better days are to come. Funny at times, tragic at others

Caspar Peek
Apr 10, 2015 Caspar Peek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jurek Becker was a hybrid writer - a Polish secular Jew who survived the Lodz ghetto and grew up in East Germany speaking and writing in German only. He always stated that he had no memories of his three years in the Lods ghetto, when he was between three and six years old. And yet, his writing about Jakob is so vivid it is hard to believe that this was written abut someone who has no first-hand memories of those terrible days.

I love this book - I bought a copy in East Germany way back in the s
Matti Karjalainen
Puolansaksalaisen kirjailijan Jurek Beckerin romaani "Valehtelija-Jaakko" (Otava, 1999) ilmestyi suomeksi Keltaisessa kirjastossa kolmekymmentä vuotta alkuperäisen julkaisunsa jälkeen. Romaani kertoo Jacob Heym -nimisestä juutalaisesta ravintolanpitäjästä, joka on monien muiden kohtalotovereidensa tavoin päätynyt natsien hallinnoimaan Lodzin gettoon.

Sattuman oikusta Jacob joutuu vierailemaan saksalaisen komendantin toimistossa, ja saa siellä kuulla puna-armeijan ja saksalaisten taistelleen pari
Dec 23, 2013 Asma rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, germany-wwii
An excellent novel depicts the life of Jew who were detained in their area and detached from the outer world because of German invention.

This novel has nothing to do with the typical novels on Holocaust and the concentration camps.
The events of the novels take place in one of the isolated communities of Jewish in Poland. People are isolated and not allowed to mix up with other people than the people in their bounded area. Radios and newspapers are forbidden and so don’t know anything about what
Luna Selene
The page offers no summary, so I'll write a quick one: an older man, Jacob, living in a Polish ghetto (presumed to be Lodz) is sent one night to the military office for punishment for being out after 8 pm. In the building, he secretly hears a newscast that the Germans have just defeated the Russian army fairly close to the ghetto, and is let go without punishment because it wasn't actually 8 o'clock yet. Jacob, wanting to share the good news that the Russians weren't far away, realizes no one wi ...more
Amir ali
Sep 11, 2013 Amir ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
یکساعت مانده به آغاز ممنوعیت تردد در شهر، یعقوب حییم، یهودی ساکن گتو، به پست یک گشتی آلمانی می خورد که برای آزارش، به او دستور می دهد خود را به پست فرماندهی معرفی کند تا برایش مجازات مناسب درنظر گرفته شود. یعقوب به مقر نازی ها می رود اما بخت بلندش باعث می شود افسر کشیک اجازه دهد او به گتو برگردد. همین جاست که یعقوب از رادیو می شنود نیروهای آلمانی توانسته اند روس ها را در در بیست كیلومتری بسانیكا متوقف کنند.

این خبر برای یعقوب امیدآفرین است چون بسانیکا با محل زندگی او تنها 400 کیلومتر فاصله دارد و
Feb 04, 2013 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful novel. Set during WWII and the Holocaust, but not solely a novel about the Holocaust, Becker's novel is in equal parts sad, funny, ironic, and deeply moving. Jacob Heym, the protagonist, invents a simple but dishonest means to keep up what little hope remains in his Jewish ghetto as he and his friends go about the drudgery of their lives ever in the shadow of death. The unnamed and omniscient narrator carries the reader across time to explain Jacob's and the others' histories, w ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001, 1001-challenge
Jacob the Liar by Jurek Becker

Jacob the Liar is the story of life in a Nazi-occupied Jewish ghetto. Protagonist Jacob Heym is sent to the military office and overhears a radio broadcast about a nearby Russian victory. He finds himself in a predicament when he decides to share the good news but lies to cover up where he heard the news by claiming he owns a radio. The news instills hope and curbs the stream of suicides in the ghetto. The subsequent plot centers around Jacob’s struggles to maintain
Oct 15, 2015 Beatrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most metafictional stories I've read... Really interesting, with characters that serve as symbols for particular, important elements of the Holocaust. The relationship between Jacob and Lina was heart-warming, necessary, really, amidst the lies and confusion of this story. I hadn't ever thought about this historical period quite like this--Becker has made several, pointed remarks on the tragedy, all along his storytelling. The ending, and its complexity, was really beautiful.
Susetyo Priyojati
Sep 21, 2007 Susetyo Priyojati rated it it was amazing
I never like Holocaust novels, but somehow this one appeals to me. Jakob was a Jew that, being forced to report to a German military office, accidentally overheard on their radio that Russian army were approaching. That would mean salvation for all the people suffering under the German. Once Jakob let the information slip from his tongue, the whole ghetto was put in high expectation. Unfortunately people wouldn't believe the original story, so he said that he had a radio, and a lie follow one af ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Marc rated it it was ok
A ghetto, somewhere in Eastern Europe, arond 1943-1944; poor Jakob Heym by coincidence hears a radiomessage in the German headquarters en concludes that the Germans are on the run for the Russians.Jakob spreads the news, lying that he has heard it on his own illegal radio, and the ghetto reawakens, everybody is making plans again, the suicidenumbers crumble. But his little lie brings him quite some trubbles. The author, a vague co-resident of the ghetto, makes up two different endings, both very ...more
Roberto Macias
Dec 03, 2014 Roberto Macias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Der Film (oder eine der Filme) ist ja sehr bekannt. Entweder der alte Deutsche, oder die neuere Version mit Robin Williams. Nun aber das Buch ist an sich sehr lesenswert, nicht nur weil es ein Gesicht des 2. Weltkrieges ist die wir selten zu sehen bekommen, sondern auch weil die Prosa mit der das Buch geschrieben ist ausreicht um es Wertvoll zu machen.

Die Beschreibungen und Zeitlinie mit der Jurek Becker die Geschichte erzählt bringen dem leser das geschehens nah. Zu dem gibt's in der Welt zu vi
Brittney Martinez
Feb 08, 2016 Brittney Martinez rated it it was amazing
One of the most entertaining books I've read about the Holocaust. It takes place in a ghetto rather than a camp, which already helps a bit with the depression factor. The characters are great, and the mystery narrator makes the book more enjoyable for me. I really adore this book.
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Jurek Becker (* vermutlich 30. September 1937 in Łódź, Polen als Jerzy Bekker geboren[1]; † 14. März 1997 in Sieseby, Schleswig-Holstein) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Drehbuchautor und DDR-Dissident.

Jurek Becker (probably September 30, 1937 – March 14, 1997) was a Polish-born German writer, film-author and GDR dissident. His most famous novel is Jacob the Liar, which has been made into two fi
More about Jurek Becker...

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