2 journalers for this copy...
Set in Kiev in 1911 during a period of heightened anti-Semitism, the novel tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman blamed for the brutal murder of a young Russian boy. Bok leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. When the boy is found nearly drained of blood in a cave, the Black Hundreds accuse the Jews of ritual murder. Arrested and imprisoned, Bok refuses to confess to a crime that he did not commit."
This is an excellent book.
A simple story given the classic Russian authors treatment, which means a slow pace and a lot of psychological analysis of the main character and his predicament.
The book won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and even though that might not mean much today it was quite a feat in the late '60's.
The story of Yakov sometimes echoes the never-ending Kafkaesque tortures of The Process and that is not a coincidence for sure.
The plight of the Jewish people in Russia under the Tsar regime, with the Pogrom policy, has been overshadowed by later historical events but the author does a great job of revealing all the constraints that involved being a Jewish in the early 20th century in the Russian empire.
The thing I liked most about this book, besides the typical Russian author approach to the story , was the fact that Yakov is a victim of injustice who's very sure of himself all the way through the endless spiraling tale he's involved in. I also loved the description of his time in jail and really think the author was able to portrait the humanity, and therefore imperfection, of all the characters that accompany Yakov in his odyssey in jail.
A must read book.
I'm so glad Kiz gave me this book to read. It's a real piece of literature! How is it even possible to get so many pages filled with the most page-turning prose only on the daily life of a prisioner in solitary?
And I'll say no more for I believe he already said it all. Thanks pal!