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Garden, Ashes
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1001 book reviews > Garden, Ashes by Danilo Kiš

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Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 stars


A semi-autobiographical story about a Serbian boy whose father went away. The boy's mother is Christian and the boy's father is Jewish. The book is set during WWII. Gorgeous writing about a difficult subject matter, even more so, since it based upon the author's own family and experiences.


Tatjana JP | 294 comments Rating: 4 stars
Danilo Kiš is famous for simple and beautiful writing, short stories full of life, set mostly in poor and difficult reality.
This one is a story of his childhood in difficult times, before, after and during WWII. The central character of the book is Andy. The book is written in first person, and a boy tells us about his family: loving mother; alcoholic, unstable and often absent father and sister Ana. He reflects of various issues, including life and death, religion, family relationships, love. It is set in extreme poverty but Andy remains positive and optimistic child.


Gail (gailifer) | 1533 comments I also gave this book 4 stars for the beautiful writing and the author's ability to bring a child's very sensitive imagination to life in a very realistic context of hunger and poverty. The story tells of Andi Schaum's rich fantasy life paralleled by the story of his father, an alcoholic, messianic, erudite, bellicose man who wears many masks and therefore is never truly just a man, or just a father to Andi. Andi weaves his father's story into his own imaginings but in the end we learn much about a sad, wasted Jewish man during the time when even Hungarian Jews were being sent to the death camps. The insights are of a very personal nature with a backdrop of hopeless poverty.


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