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The Shawl

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,094 ratings  ·  331 reviews
Depicting both the horrors of the Holocaust and the lifetime of emptiness that pursues a survivor, 'The Shawl' and 'Rosa' recall the psychological and emotional scars of those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
Published June 21st 2007 by Phoenix (first published 1989)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,094 ratings  ·  331 reviews

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Cynthia Ozick is a premier short story writer and novelist in this country. The Shawl and Rosa, published together in one volume, each won awards for best American fiction or short story the year they were published. My entry for "classic short story" in classic Bingo in the group catching up on classics, The Shawl is a moving tale of Holocaust survivor Rosa Lublin who clings to a shawl in order to not forget all the ghosts of her past.

In The Shawl, we meet a young Rosa Lublin who along with he
Jan 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"The Shawl" is considered a modern classic.
But I didn't like it. At all.
Why on earth not? Everyone else is raving about it.

- The suffering and cruel murder of Rosa's child are told in a very poetic way.

One reviewer wrote : "There can be something disturbingly beautiful in the portrayal of a child dying...and the manner the baby gets done in "The Shawl". I know that it's wrong to find babies dying beautiful, but it's actually an interesting technique to use in a piece of art."

How sick is that
This is a short story about the Holocaust, about a mother, her baby girl, and a young cousin. All the Holocaust stories I've read are heartbreaking, draining, just hard to read. This one is no different, except this one may be more so. There is a sequel, a novella, to this story but I don't know if I have the strength to read it.
Diane S ☔
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most powerful shorts I have read. The horrendous reach of the Nazis. A shawl that provides shelter, concealment, love and comfort until the day it couldn't be found, setting in motion a horrifying deed and decision.. A mothers love and the horrible choice she has to make. The setting, the scene, the emotion are all visceral, one can see, feel and picture what is happening. So sad, but so well done.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to karen by: stuart ross
Shelves: littry-fiction
this is the tiniest book of all time, but it still manages to be genuinely moving and have emotional resonance that sticks to yer ribs.

i have read some holocaust literature, not a lot, but what i have read has been pretty powerful stuff. but i know there is other stuff out there - that i will never read, very emotionally manipulative stuff, like (and i haven't read it, but you can just tell) the boy in the striped pajamas. blech. stuff, stuff, stuff. clearly ozick has not inspired me to any gre
The short story is available free online here:

My kind GR friend, Bookish, gave me the link.

Why is this worth five stars? What makes it amazing to me?

The lines are beautiful, poignant, heartrending and informative. All you need to know to fully understand the events are told in just a minimum of words. It will take you just a few minutes to read. To convey so much information and so much emotion in so few words is amazing.

You will feel hunger in your bell
THE SHAWL is a horror of a story about the holocaust and the gut-wrenching decision a mother makes when a magical shawl is stolen....a shawl that hides, protects and nourishes baby Magna....a shawl that means everything.

THE SHAWL really packs a punch for such a short read. So very dark and sad.

Richard Derus
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Two award-winning works of fiction by one of America's finest writers, together in one collection.

In "The Shawl," a woman named Rosa Lublin watches a concentration camp guard murder her daughter. In "Rosa," that same woman appears 30 years later, "a mad woman and a scavenger" in a Miami hotel. She has no life in the present because her past will never end. In both stories, there is a shawl—a shawl that can sustain a starving child, inadvertently destroy he
There can be something disturbingly beautiful in the portrayal of a child dying. For example in this scene from Lars Von Trier's Anti-Christ (don't click if you don't want to see a little bit of tasteful but graphic sex. Don't worry there is no genital mutilation going on here), and the manner the baby gets done in "The Shawl". I know that it's wrong to find babies dying beautiful, but it's actually an interesting technique to use in a piece of art. Babies dying are like puppies getting kicked i ...more
This book punches you in the stomach even though you know its coming.

I first read Cynthia Ozick when I was prepareing to teach Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Ozick had written an essay, "Who Owns Anne Frank?" for The New Yorker. Then I picked this book up a couple weeks ago.

There is a debate that exist over any literature, be it fiction or non-fiction, that deals with genoicide, war, rape, or anything that is bad, evil, to a group of people at once. The question is whether or not the suf
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Lo scialle è la tragedia di una madre
rapidi tratti ,nitidi,essenziali quelli di C.Ozick
Un passato che continua ad essere presente,l'orrore che ossessiona ,che imprigiona
in un impenetrabile recinto di filo spinato

La scena più potente e terribile del libro
Era il primo suono che Magda avesse mai emesso dalla gola da quando i capezzoli di Rosa si erano seccati.
- Maaa… aaa!
Di nuovo Magda barcollava nella luce pericolosa dell’arena, scarabocchiando su quelle zampette torte così pietose.
Ronald Morton
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: by-women
Magda took Rosa’s nipple, and Rosa never stopped walking, a walking cradle. There was not enough milk; sometimes Magda sucked air; then she screamed. Stella was ravenous. Her knees were tumors on sticks, her elbows chicken bones.

The first 10 pages of this book broke my heart. Not once; continuously. I read each line in tense, avid awe, my chest hurting with each sentence. It is an absolutely brutal short story, but, in its way, it is crystalline: superb.

[my wife saw what I was reading: "oh, yeah
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I totally got this book. It isn’t a long read, maybe 80 pages. Even so I read it over 4 sittings. In between, my thoughts were never far from the book which for me is a sure sign that I am connected with the storyline emotionally.

The first, and shorter chapter of the two, describes Rosa Lublin's time in a German concentration camp during the second world war and packs a heavy punch for so few pages. The remainder of the book centres around Rosa’s life 30 years later after relocating to America.
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning in all meanings and senses of the word. A must and want to read for everyone.

I only started reading "The Shawl" last night. I was so engrossed that I didn't realize any time had gone by until I'd finished it. I'm going to read this novella again this weekend. I was utterly transported to another time and place with "The Shawl" and her characters. I can't imagine not reading it again.

Cynthia Ozick may be one of the most incredible weavers of a story and glorious wordsmiths whose works I
Oct 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, within the first ten pages, manages to accomplish what other authors often fail to achieve in three to four hundred. Cynthia Ozick captures the reader immediately with her intimate tone as she lovingly speaks of the infant -- swaddled in a shawl -- that she carries while walking with a companion down a seemingly endless road. A road leading to a concentration camp. The book refrains from going into detail of the Holocaust, its Soldiers and descriptions of horrid treatment endured by m ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apenas 99 páginas,incluido el prólogo y 4 ilustraciones,llenas de sensibilidad y fuerza que me han desarmado por completo.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was haunting and like all Auschwitz books that i read I’m always horrified at the inhumanity of humans and some of the pics that these words paint are magical in the most lugubrious sense. It’s the story of a lady that has her baby torn away from her in a concentration camp and killed. The image of the baby being killed will stay with me for a long long time. The story then zooms forward about 50 years when Rosa is now in America and trying to live a pseudo normal life. She starts losing he ...more
Baran باران
Holokost odaklı birçok metin okumaya başladım son zamanlarda, buna eskiden okuduklarımı da dahil edince, belli bir hassasiyet ve dikkatle metinlere bakmaya başlıyorum. Cynthia Ozick'in methini çok duymuştum, yazardan okuduğun bu ilk kitabın iyi bir kitap olduğunu düşünmüyorum. Çünkü, Primo Levi'nin Bunlar da İnsan Mı? ya da Appelfeld'in Ruhun Kuytusunda, Badenheim, yada Isaac Bashevis Singer'in Meşuga'sı gibi metinlerden Holokost'u okuyunca, bu kitap Şal metafor üzerinden güzel bir hikaye çıkarm ...more
Well, heck it's hardly worth the time to put down that I was "currently reading" this and write the review when it's only about 70 pages. It's two interconnected short stories--I'm glad Ozick wrote the second one because the first one was just too sad.

So a short book deserves a short review. Holocaust-pain-hunger for the first story and Miami-old age-disillusion for the second one that takes place 30 years later.
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Death and what comes after. This is what fiction is about. Amazing.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
Really 3.5 - enjoyed the first short story more than the "Rosa" section
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is comprised of two short stories. The first, The Shawl, is only eight pages long, but it's a powerful blast of real life horror: a tale of a woman and her infant child in a concentration camp. It's incredibly distressing, and there's no glimmer of hope or redemption or happiness. It's just a guttural cry of anguish.

The second story, Rosa, is about the mother from the first story, decades after the Holocaust has ended. She now resides in Miami, but she hasn't exactly escaped the horror
Fernando Jimenez
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'El chal' es seguramente uno de los más certeros retratos de las consecuencias del Holocausto en la personalidad de quienes lo vivieron, esas personas llamadas en adelante "supervivientes" como para subrayar una esencia fantasmal. Y extraña es la existencia de la protagonista, que sitúa en una prenda, el chal, la reliquia de los acontecimientos infernales pasados, que a la vez están íntimamente conectados con sus orígenes, su lengua materna y su cultura, más polaca que judía. El texto está lleno ...more
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I decided to read this after reading the first part called the Shawl. I bought it and read it by 8pm yesterday. I thought that the character Rosa was a sad character and reminds me of why I do not want to get old. I often reminiscence on my life and wonder where 26 years went. I can remember being in the 5th grade and wondering what I'd be doing later on in life. I don't like to hold unto things of my past like Rosa. Rosa's pain runs deeper than just a simple sadness though, like I would feel ...more
This wafer-thin book relates two stories which astound the senses despite their brevity.
The first is a short story published in The New Yorker in 1981. The companion tale appeared in the same magazine three years later. They tell of a woman who survived the Holocaust, but whose life in the present is empty because the essence of her existence was stolen away from her in the horrors of brutal concentration camp experiences.

Ozick's timeless writing achieved a devastating perception of the Holoc
Mª Ángeles
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dos relatos estremecedores sobre una mujer que no logra despojarse del alambre de espino, ese que bordeada el campo de concentración en el que estuvo.
Absolutamente recomendable.
Mi reseña: http://bookeandoconmangeles.blogspot....
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terse and harrowing, The Shawl is a dry-mouthed nightmare, interrupted only to discover the droning window unit has went demonic.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Like stabbing a spade into the soil and striking bone.
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Sheer power, horror, bleakness and desperation.

Incredible piece of sustained angst. Troubling, exact, and symbolic as a nightmare.

Blew me away.
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa, lit-usa, s-xx

Estremidor. Poesia!
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500 Great Books B...: The Shawl - Cynthia Ozick 3 32 Feb 12, 2017 09:30AM  
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  • Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew
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Recipient of the first Rea Award for the Short Story (in 1976; other winners Rea honorees include Lorrie Moore, John Updike, Alice Munro), an American Academy of Arts and Letters Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award, and the PEN/Malamud award in 2008.

Upon publication of her 1983 The Shawl, Edmund White wrote in the New York Times, "Miss Ozick strikes me as the best American writer to have emerg
“No, no, sometimes a person feels to be alone."
"If you're alone too much," Persky said, "you think too much."
"Without a life," Rosa answered, "a person lives where they can. If all they got is thoughts, that's where they live."
"You ain't got a life?"
"Thieves took it.”
“It seemed to Rosa Lublin that the whole peninsula of Florida was weighted down with regret. Everyone had left behind a real life. Here they had nothing. They were all scarecrows, blown about under the murdering sunball with empty ribcages.” 7 likes
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