‘Read this book . . . what a gift of lyric language and style, of emotion purified by pain this is’ Los Angeles Times

Fleeing an abusive home, Katerina, a teenager in 1880s Ukraine, is taken in by a Jewish family, finding safety in their warmth and rituals. When a pogrom is wrought upon the family, she is alone again. Decades later, having suffered and retaliated for that suffering, an elderly Katerina is released from prison at the end of World War Two, and is devastated to find a world emptied of its Jews. Ever the outsider, she realizes that she has survived only to bear witness to the fact they ever existed at all. Described by Aharon Appelfeld as being ‘about what is inseparable from me’, this extraordinary novel tells, with moving simplicity, the story of a people; of life’s horror and beauty.

‘Appelfeld reimagines the place of his own origins through a perspective that in its generosity of feeling recalls Tolstoy and Chekhov’ The New York Times Book Review

Translated by Jeffrey M. Green


  • Read this book . . . Think what a gift of lyric language and style, of emotion purified by pain this is
    Anne Roiphe, Los Angeles Times

About the author

Aharon Appelfeld

Aharon Appelfeld authored more than 45 acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction and received many international awards including the MLA Commonwealth Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction prize, the prix Médicis étranger, the Israel prize, and the Nelly Sachs prize. Born in Czernowitz, Bukovina (now part of Ukraine) in 1932, he survived the Holocaust and passed away in Israel in 2018.
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