Jim Shepard - The Book of Aron - Quercus

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    • ISBN:9781848667396
    • Publication date:07 May 2015
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    • Publication date:02 Jul 2015
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    • Publication date:07 May 2015

The Book of Aron

By Jim Shepard

  • Paperback
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A lauded 'masterpiece' that tells with compassion and humour the story of Janusz Korczak, a hero of the Polish Jewish ghetto

**SHORTLISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE AWARD**
'Powerful . . . shattering . . . a masterpiece' The Times
'Testament of love and sacrifice . . . a masterpiece' Joshua Ferris, Guardian
'Transcendent and timeless . . . masterpiece' Washington Post

Aron is a nine-year-old Polish Jew, and a troublemaker. His mother despairs of him. His father beats him. He tries to be good. But in 1939, as the walls go up around the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, as lice and typhus rage, families starve and fight, it is Aron who finds a way - however dangerous, however treacherous - to survive. It isn't until he lands at the feet of Janusz Korczak - orphanage director and reluctant hero - that he learns of something greater than survival.

**With new exclusive endmatter, featuring a biography of Korczak and questions for book clubs**

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  • ISBN: 9781784290320
  • Publication date: 07 Jan 2016
  • Page count: 288
  • Imprint: riverrun
The Book of Aron is a novel of profound and delicate simplicity - passivity, almost - but one which calmly and indelibly delivers the bluntest of impacts. In other words, it's a knock-out (though you never saw it coming) — Jim Crace
A remarkable novel destined to join the shelf of essential Holocaust literature. Although relentless in its portrayal of systematic evil, The Book of Aron is, nonetheless, a story of such startling candour about the complexity of heroism that it challenges each of us to greater courage . . . Let's set aside puffery about the best novel of the month or even the year; Shepard has created something transcendent and timeless in this slim masterpiece . . . Shepard dares to move his narrative down the asymptote of despair, and the moral heroism he describes on that path toward infinity, you will never forget — Ron Charles, Washington Post
Any number of writers have published fiction about the Holocaust, but few have succeeded in producing a work as simple and yet so moving as The Book of Aron . . . Shepard chronicles with compassion and clarity what happens as the Nazi persecution grows ever worse — Sunday Times
The horrors are described from the child's point of view; there is no reflection, no judgement. This is what the world is like. The pared prose is affecting . . . Unlike many of the books and films featuring children in the Holocaust, The Book of Aron reeks of the real — Spectator
By reclaiming an insignificant voice and deploying it to observe a great man, Shepard turns hell into a testament of love and sacrifice. The Book of Aron is his best novel yet, a short and moving masterpiece — Joshua Ferris, Guardian
It is extraordinary how Shepard, using the voice of a poorly educated boy, can conjure up such a powerful story. Despite the inevitability of the conclusion, it is utterly shattering. The Book of Aron is a masterpiece — Antonia Senior, The Times, Book of the Month
Shepard is one of America's very finest writers . . . By focusing on the trauma of one young boy, he personalises the descent into hell . . . He has not only created something shocking, haunting and truly special, but captures the essence of humanity and its opposite, compassion as well as cruelty. An unforgettable book — Billy O'Callaghan, Irish Examiner
Compelling . . . [Aron's] voice is as intent in hope and his mind as quelled by reality . . . Here is a world to quell any reader . . . Sometimes 'old people' can be more childlike than children - a grace that Shepard presents poignantly — Tablet
The technique is a kind of under-writing - emotional bathos - the sort of annalistic approach endorsed by Berel Lang [...] when he suggested that Holocaust writing at its sincerest and most compelling takes the form of history, rather than fiction or poetry. The Book of Aron has a biblical feel: a rascal's End of Days. Its narrator is, from the outset, an unruly force of nature . . . Moving — Times Literary Supplement
The Book of Aron is not the first Holocaust novel to stir its readers in this way, but it carries the burden of its subject with a mordant frankness at once heartbreaking, refreshing and - hardest won of all - enchanting. Jim Shepard's novel enters a crowded canon and it stands there, head and shoulders, with the best — Toby Lichtig, Jewish Quarterly
Jim Shepard, a writer of extraordinary historical vision, psychological acuity, and searing irony, presents a profoundly moving portrait of its young narrator Aron; explores, with awe, our instinct to adapt and survive; and through the evolving consciousness of his phenomenally commanding young narrator, exposes the catastrophic impact of war and genocide on children — Carnegie Award
Book of the Year: A masterful depiction of life in the ghetto and the demands of heroism. The conclusion, although inevitable, is devastating — The Times
Heartbreaking, shattering, charming and brilliant - there isn't one word that isn't the young boy's. Jim Shepard has written some of the best books I've read. The Book of Aron is his best — Roddy Doyle
Harrowing, comic and deeply human . . . This book needs to be read — Anthony Doerr
MacLehose Press

The Oblique Place

Caterina Pascual Söderbaum
Authors:
Caterina Pascual Söderbaum

An exceptional literary journey unlike any other, an achingly beautiful fusion of memories and history unlike any other. "Caterina Pascual Söderbaum has left a major European literary work of art as her legacy" STEVE SEM-SANDBERG, author of Emperor of LiesFrom idyllic Attersee in Austria, where the employees at Nazi extermination camps are sent for a well-deserved rest, to Schloss Hartheim, where the staff of the regime's euthanasia programme forget, with the help of alcohol and sex, the horrors that take place there, to Villa Saint-Jean, the summer residence where malnourished children from France's internment camps are sent to recover. In Uppsala, a woman scours her mother's albums for photographs of her christening, taken in the family's flat in Spanish Lérida. In one she is resting in her father's arms. In the next he toasts the camera, dressed in the uniform of Franco fascism and with his right arm extended. A whole family history in just a few photographs: a grandfather who joined Hitler's army; a father who dreamed of war and ended up in the Spanish Sahara; a mother who shares her surname with Kristina Söderbaum, a celebrated film star of the Third Reich. And the child in a white christening gown, who will become a mother herself and one day walk along the shores of the Attersee. In evocative prose that examines whether guilt can be passed down through generations, the late Caterina Pascual Söderbaum explores how Europe lost itself in a period of darkness.Translated from the Swedish by Frank Perry

riverrun

The World to Come

Jim Shepard
Authors:
Jim Shepard

A fantastic writer - compassionate, funny and fearless' George Saunders'One of the US's finest writers' according to Joshua Ferris, Jim Shepard now delivers a new collection that spans borders and centuries with unrivalled mastery. These ten stories ring with voices as diverse as those belonging to Arctic explorers in history's most nightmarish expedition, the Montgolfier brothers competing to be the first man to fly, and two American frontierswomen whose passionate connection is severed by jealous husbands and a deadly snowstorm.In each case the personal is the political as these humans, while falling in love or negotiating marital pitfalls or simply coming to terms with their own failings, face the tidal wave of nature's indifference and cruelty. History has swept them from our sympathy; Jim Shepard has reached into the past and sought them out.In his first collection to be published in the UK, this celebrated master of the short story displays his formidable acuity in imagining these wildly different worlds, and what our various lives feel like in the grip of catastrophe.

riverrun

Testament

Kim Sherwood
Authors:
Kim Sherwood

'I am absorbed by the delicacy, even the beauty, with which she writes of the trauma of history' Amit ChaudhuriWinner of the Bath Novel AwardThe letter was in the Blue Room - her grandfather's painting studio, where Eva spent the happier days of her childhood. After his death, she is the one responsible for his legacy - a legacy threatened by the letter she finds. It is from the Jewish Museum in Berlin.They have found the testimony her grandfather gave after surviving the labour camps in Austria. And, since he was one of Britain's greatest twentieth century artists, they want to exhibit it. But Joseph Silk - leaving behind József Zyyad - remade himself long ago. As Eva begins to uncover the truth, she understands the trauma, and the lies, that have haunted her family. She will unravel what happened to József and his brother, who came to England as refugees. One never spoke of his past - the other couldn't let it go. Their story - and that of the woman they both loved - is in her hands. Revealing it would change her grandfather's hard-won identity. But it could also change the tide of history. This testament can lend words to wordless grief, and teach her how to live.Kim Sherwood's extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, loss and our place within history.

MacLehose Press

Avenging Angels

Lyuba Vinogradova
Authors:
Lyuba Vinogradova
Quercus

Smoky the Brave

Damien Lewis
Authors:
Damien Lewis

The World's Smallest Dog with the World's Biggest HeartSmoky the Brave is the extraordinary, touching and true story of a heroic dog and her adoptive masters in the jungles of the Pacific War. In February 1944, as Japanese military advances threatened to engulf Australasia, a tiny, four-pound Yorkshire terrier was discovered hiding in a Japanese shell scrape amidst the thick jungles of Papua New Guinea. The GIs who discovered her presumed she had been some kind of Japanese army mascot, but it soon turned out that she understood neither commands rendered in Japanese nor English. A mystery, she was adopted by Corporal William 'Bill' Wynne, an air-crewman with the US 5th Air Force's 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron.Living in Bill Wynne's tent, sleeping on a piece of green felt salvaged from a card table, and sharing his rations, Smoky became the de facto mascot of the regiment. She went on to fly numerous photo-recce and air-sea rescue missions, cocooned in a soldier's pack hanging next to the machine-guns used to repel marauding Japanese fighters. She was awarded eight battle stars, surviving dozens of Japanese combat raids on Papua New Guinea, and braving a typhoon that ravaged Okinawa. After saving Wynne's life by warning of a falling shell, as their landing craft approached an enemy-held beach - a shell that killed the eight men that Wynne was standing beside - he nicknamed her the 'angel from a foxhole'. In one of her most famous exploits Smoky parachuted using a special rig designed to fit one of the world's smallest but toughest dogs.In perhaps her most heroic exploit of all, Smoky ran a cable through a seventy-foot pipe no wider in places than four inches, to enable telephone lines to be run across the recently occupied airbase of Luzon. Her efforts saved hundreds of ground-crew from being exposed to enemy bombing, preventing injury and loss of life. Amongst her many other awards, she was given the PDSA's Certificate for Animal Bravery or Devotion in 2011, a relatively new class of PDSA award.

Quercus

The Girls from the Local

Rosie Archer
Authors:
Rosie Archer

Gosport, Hampshire 1943, and even in the middle of war the local pub provides a warm welcome, thanks to its trio of barmaids. A heartwarming saga for fans of Sheila Newberry and Daisy Styles.Ruby has been living and working at the Point of No Return pub since her parents were killed by a bomb. She loves the bustle of the pub; it helps take her mind off worrying about her fiance, Joe, away fighting in France.The only thing Ruby doesn't like about the Point is Sylvie. This singing siren may have a beautiful voice, but she's out for all she can get, including Joe.Finally, there's Marge, a true party girl. She's a great friend to Ruby and makes sure they have fun, going out to dances and flirting with all and sundry, but she's not as fond of her other role as a mother to two young children.The three of them face many obstacles to fulfilling their dreams, but the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that hold the Point together will keep them going through the darkest of times.(P)2017 WF Howes Ltd

MacLehose Press

Raoul Wallenberg

Ingrid Carlberg
Authors:
Ingrid Carlberg

An Honorary Citizen of the U.S.A., and designated as one of the Righteous among the Nations by Israel, Raoul Wallenberg's heroism in Budapest at the height of the Holocaust saved countless lives, and ultimately cost him his own.A series of unlikely coincidences led to the appointment of Wallenberg, by trade a poultry importer, as Sweden's Special Envoy to Budapest in 1944. With remarkable bravery, Wallenberg created a system of protective passports, and sheltered thousands of desperate Jews in buildings he claimed were Swedish libraries and research institutes.As the war drew to a close, his invaluable work almost complete, Wallenberg voluntarily went to meet with the Soviet troops who were relieving the city. Arrested as a spy, Wallenberg disappeared into the depths of the Soviet system, never to be seen again.For this seminal biography, Ingrid Carlberg has carried out unprecedented research into all elements of Wallenberg's life, narrating with vigour and insight the story of a heroic life, and navigating with wisdom and sensitivity the truth about his disappearance and death.Translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg

MacLehose Press

The Impostor

Javier Cercas
Authors:
Javier Cercas

Who is Enric Marco? An old man from Barcelona who claims to be a Nazi concentration camp survivor and rises to be president of Spain's leading Holocaust survivor movement, the Friends of Mauthausen. By the time he is unmasked in Austria in 2005 on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the camp, he has become a civic hero, speaking at hundreds of conferences, granting dozens of interviews, receiving state honours, publishing a successful memoir and even moving Spanish congressmen to tears at a memorial homage to Republicans deported by the Third Reich. The case shocked the world, and Enric Marco was labelled a great imposter to which he responded: "I am an impostor, but not a fraud."A decade later, Javier Cercas addresses the enigma of the man, his truths and lies, and, through an investigation that unravels Spain's history in the twentieth century, delves with passion and unflinching honesty into that deepest part of human nature - our infinite capacity for self-deception, our need for conformity, our lies, our insatiable thirst for affection and our opposing needs for fiction and reality.The Impostor is an extraordinary novel that not only tells Marco's self-deluding story, but also challenges the reader to consider how truthful any of us is in the way we present ourselves in daily life. Are we not all, asks Cercas, the novelists of our own lives?Translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne

Quercus

A Crime in the Family

Sacha Batthyány
Authors:
Sacha Batthyány
MacLehose Press

Between the Wars

Philip Ziegler
Authors:
Philip Ziegler
Quercus

The Other Side of Silence

Philip Kerr
Authors:
Philip Kerr

The French Riviera, 1956. A world-weary Bernie Gunther is working under a false name as a hotel concierge. His attempts to keep his nose clean go horribly awry when a wartime acquaintance sucks him into a blackmail plot involving one of the most famous British writers of the 20th century and the notorious Cambridge Spies.Bernie is missing his old detective life when his past walks through the door in the shape of Harold Hennig, a former captain in the Nazi security service - the man who, in 1945, was responsible for the deaths of thousands, among them a woman Bernie loved. Hennig now enjoys a lucrative career as a blackmailer. Hennig's target on the Cote d'Azur is a famous resident with a dark past and plenty to hide - the writer, Somerset Maugham. A shared love of bridge draws Bernie to Maugham's magnificent villa, where Maugham tells him of the existence of a very compromising photograph. Taken in 1937, it shows Maugham among a group of naked men beside a swimming pool - one of whom is the infamous spy and homosexual, Guy Burgess, who, with Donald Maclean, has recently defected to Moscow. Hennig has the photograph and is demanding $50,000 for its release. Bernie is reluctant to become Maugham's agent but his former life has made him as vulnerable to blackmail as Maugham himself. Not only that - he has a massive score to settle with Hennig.

MacLehose Press

No Picnic on Mount Kenya

Felice Benuzzi
Authors:
Felice Benuzzi

A rediscovered mountaineering classic and the extraordinary true story of a daring escape up Mount Kenya by three prisoners of war.When the clouds covering Mount Kenya part one morning to reveal its towering peaks for the first time, prisoner of war Felice Benuzzi is transfixed. The tedium of camp life is broken by the beginnings of a sudden idea - an outrageous, dangerous, brilliant idea.There are not many people who would break out of a P.O.W. camp, trek for days across perilous terrain before climbing the north face of Mount Kenya with improvised equipment, meagre rations, and with a picture of the mountain on a tin of beef among their more accurate guides. There are probably fewer still who would break back in to the camp on their return.But this is the remarkable story of three such men. No Picnic on Mount Kenya is a powerful testament to the human spirit of revolt and adventure in even the darkest of places."The history of mountaineering can hardly present a parallel to this mad but thrilling escapade" - Saturday Review"A most extraordinary prisoner-of-war and escape story" - New Yorker"A mad venture and a gallant tribute to man's deep yearning for freedom" - Kirkus Reviews"The book crackles with the same dry humour as its title. It contains the prison-yard bartering and candlelight stitching that mark a classic jailbreak yarn; the encounters with wild beasts in Mount Kenya's forest belt are as gripping, and the descriptions of sparkling glaciers as awe-inspiring, as any passage in the great exploration diaries of the early 20th century" - The Economist

Quercus

The Factory Girls

Rosie Archer
Authors:
Rosie Archer

For fans of Daisy Styles, a heart-warming wartime saga about a group of women who work in an armaments factory. No matter how hard the times, despite bombing, short rations, cruel men, unwanted pregnancy, through thick and thin friendship will pull you through. Autumn, 1944. Doodlebugs are the latest threat to war-battered southern England. At Priddy's Hard munitions factory though, Em Earle is about to suffer a threat to her livelihood from much nearer home. Local crook Samuel Golden is back and up to his old tricks, trying to find ways to exploit people's hardship for his own gain.As well as Samuel's unwanted attentions, Em has to deal with some huge revelations from within her own family. Her daughter Lizzie is pregnant, and a strange woman has turned up on Em's doorstep claiming to be her sister. Em is excited, but wary - could this woman be too good to be true? Once again it will be up to the girls from the bomb factory to rally round and support one of their own.

MacLehose Press

The Bickford Fuse

Andrey Kurkov
Authors:
Andrey Kurkov

Catch-22 meets The Brothers Karamazov in the last great satire of the Soviet EraThe Great Patriotic War is stumbling to a close, but a new darkness has fallen over Soviet Russia. And for a disparate, disconnected clutch of wanderers - many thousands of miles apart but linked by a common goal - four parallel journeys are just beginning.Gorych and his driver, rolling through water, sand and snow on an empty petrol tank; the occupant of a black airship, looking down benevolently as he floats above his Fatherland; young Andrey, who leaves his religious community in search of a new life; and Kharitonov, who trudges from the Sea of Japan to Leningrad, carrying a fuse that, when lit, could blow all and sundry to smithereens.Written in the final years of Communism, The Bickford Fuse is a satirical epic of the Soviet soul, exploring the origins and dead-ends of the Russian mentality from the end of World War Two to the Union's collapse. Blending allegory and fable with real events, and as deliriously absurd as anything Kurkov has written, it is both an elegy for lost years and a song of hope for a future not yet set in stone.Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk

Quercus

The Canary Girls

Rosie Archer
Authors:
Rosie Archer

In love and war, who can you trust? 1944, Hampshire. Her face still bearing the scars from the explosion at the factory, Rita Brown is nonetheless back on her feet. She's caught the eye of local wide boy Blackie Bristow, who's sweeping her around the country in a life of shady glamour. But there's a war on, and life is not all fun and games. Some of the local men are taking advantage of the topsy-turvy world to break more than just hearts, and standing up to them comes with its own costs. Rita keeps calm and carries on with a little help from her friends at the factory. But then she discovers someone there has been leaking secrets to the Germans. With D-Day on the horizon, Rita must work out who she can rely on - and fast.

MacLehose Press

Pedigree

Patrick Modiano
Authors:
Patrick Modiano
MacLehose Press

A Woman Loved

Andreï Makine
Authors:
Andreï Makine
MacLehose Press

Borders

Roy Jacobsen
Authors:
Roy Jacobsen

Robert Junior never knew the father he was named for, an American G.I. who was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and fell briefly into the arms of a Belgian nurse.Growing up with his mother in the lush forests of the Ardennes, Robert turns for guidance to his godfather, Markus Hebel, a Belgian who served in the German army in Russia.Breaking the silence around his painful past, Markus speaks of the consequences and madness of war - of the son he lost at Stalingrad and the courage of the men who tried to free the trapped German soldiers with a desperate charge across the frozen steppe.In so doing, Markus reveals a secret he has kept since the war, and a doubt that has gnawed at him for twenty years. Did he, a lowly radio operator, waste a chance to save an entire army from annihilation?

Quercus

The Munitions Girls

Rosie Archer
Authors:
Rosie Archer

An enthralling, eventful WW2 saga from the popular writer of the Daisy Lane novels - perfect for fans of Daisy Styles. 1943, Gosport, Hampshire. Pixie Saunders is 19 and employed in the local armaments factory. Not for the first time, her mother has run off with a dodgy-looking bloke, leaving Pixie to pay the rent and fend for herself. Pixie, along with her best friend Rita, Em, the factory overseer, and the rest of the girls are making the most of the war while trying to stay alive. The work is dangerous and the hours long, but in the evenings they take off their overalls and go to the pub or, better still, go dancing. Pixie meets American serviceman Cal and falls in love. But then Cal rejoins his ship. When Pixie falls pregnant, her life changes dramatically. Alone and unable to work, she has to rely on the kindness of friends to help her survive. Happiness seems like a thing of the past. Little does she know that there are plenty of surprises waiting for her - good ones at that. Love may be closer than she thinks.

Jessica Moore

Jessica Moore is an author and translator. Her book of poems, Everything, now, is partly a conversation with her translation of Turkana Boy by Jean-François Beauchemin, for which she won a PEN America Translation Award. Jessica's translation of Birth of a Bridge by Maylis de Kerangal has received widespread praise. She lives in Montreal.