See Under: Love by David Grossman


In one or two of my previous posts I mentioned how S. suggested I should read David Grossman. When I was killing time in a bookshop (where else) I saw a book by Grossman. I didn't even check what it was about or if it was for me. I just bought it, on a whim … because of S. I remember him saying Grossman doesn't write about holocaust. See under: Love is about holocaust, bit differently.

Momik is a child growing up in the fifties in Jerusalem. His parents, relatives and neighbours survived the holocaust, but they refuse to speak about it in front of him. They mention the Nazi beast, but they never say what it is supposed to be. One day granddad Anshel enters Momik's life. He survived a concentration camp in Poland. He seems confused; he talks to himself in an incomprehensible way, like he was telling a story.  Momik would like to understand Anshel's story and write about it. Later in life he would also like to write about Bruno who was killed by an SS officer, but Momik writes about him as if Bruno escaped to Gdansk and became a salmon.

Anshel Wasserman used to write stories for children. Even Herr Neigel , an officer in an concentration camp where Wasserman was brought, read them, when he was a child. As it turns out Wasserman isn't able to die. In the end, he tells the story to Neigel. The story changes the German; it in a way destroys him.

In the final chapter Momik finally tells Anshel's story. He chooses to tell it in a form of entries in a lexicon. This can be read as it is written, in the order of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. However, the entries refer to each other, so the reader can follow their order to read the story.

In this book Grossman writes about holocaust through the prism of humanity, which made certain cruel scenes read as even more cynical and horrifying. At times I thought I sensed a veil of the magical in the book and I started to wonder whether the story in the concentration camp really happened to Anshel, did he really tell the story to the German, who in the end perhaps didn’t exist at all. Or perhaps Anshel himself doesn't exist and Momik invented him as an imaginary friend to help him explain the horrors of holocaust. Anshel can't die, Bruno isn't dead either. They are both storytellers. A while ago I read (I think it was in a Joan Didion's book) that we tell stories in order to live. I believe S. is right. This book is not primarily about holocaust. It's about the power of storytelling.


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Omenila sem že, da mi je Grossmana v branje priporočil S. Nekega dne, ko sem zabijala čas v knjigarni (kje pa drugje)sem ga videla na mizi s knjigami, ki jih prodajajo po znižani ceni. Kupila sem jo, ne da bi preverila za kaj gre in ali je sploh zame. Kar kupila sem jo. Zaradi S-ja, priznam. Rekel je, da je Grossman eden od redkih izraelskih pisateljev, ki ne pišejo o holokavstu. Glej geslo: ljubezen govori o holokavstu, vendar drugače. 

Momik je otrok, ki v petdesetih letih dvajsetega stoletja odrašča v Jeruzalemu. Njegovi starši, sorodniki in sosedje so preživeli holokavst, vendar o tem v pričo Momika nočejo govoriti. Omenjajo nacistično zver, ne povedo pa kaj naj bi to bilo. Nekega dne v njegovo življenje vstopi dedek Anšel, babičin brat, ki je preživel uničevalsko taborišče na Poljskem. Videti je zmeden, nenehno na nerazumljiv način govori sam s seboj,kot da bi pripovedoval zgodbo. Momik bi rad razumel zgodbo dedka Anšla in jo zapisal. Kasneje bi rad zapisal tudi zgodbo o Brunu, ki naj bi ga ubili, vendar Momik o njem piše kot da je zbežal v Gdansk in postal losos.

Anšel Wasserman je nekoč pisal zgodbe za otroke, ki so izhajale v časopisu. Kot otrok jih je bral tudi Neigel, poveljnik koncentracijskega taborišča, kamor pripeljejo Wassermana. Izkaže se, da Wasserman ne more umreti, niti s plinom, niti z naboji, enostavno se ga ne da ubiti. Neiglu pripoveduje zadnjo zgodbo, s katero ga počasi spremeni, po svoje ga uniči.

V zadnjem poglavju v obliki zaporedja gesel v leksikonu, Momik končno pove zgodbo, ki jo je Anšel Wasserman pripovedoval Neiglu. Lahko se bere po zaporedju, kot so napisana, kot si sledijo črke v hebrejski abecedi, lahko pa bralec sledi geslom tako, kot ga usmerjajo.

Grossman se v tej knjigi holokavsta loteva na obraten način, skozi človečnost. V knjigi opiše nekaj zelo krutih prizorov, ki se berejo kot še bolj cinični in strašljivi, kot če bi bilo opisani drugače, bolj direktno. Zdelo se mi je, da sem tu in tam zaznala nekaj podobnega kopreni magičnosti in sem se spraševala ali se je zgodba v taborišču res zgodila ali Anšel za nazaj racionalizira dogodke, ali Nemec v resnici obstaja. Morda pa Anšel ne obstaja in si ga je izmislil Momik, kot namišljenega prijatelja, ki mu pomaga razložiti grozote holokavsta. Anšel ne more umreti, tudi Bruno v resnici ni mrtev. Oba sta pisatelja, pripovedujeta zgodbe. Že nekaj časa nazaj sem prebrala (mislim, da v delu Joan Didion), da zgodbe pripovedujemo, da bi  živeli. Mislim, da ima S prav in to ni prvenstveno zgodba o holokavstu, ampak o moči pripovedovanja zgodbe.
  

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