1 journaler for this copy...
I didn't like this book quite as much as Elizabeth and After. This book was published in 1990 so maybe Cohen polished his craft a bit more in the ensuing 9 years. I just never felt emotionally involved with any of the characters in this book and I did with the Elizabeth and After crew.
Simply put this is a story of 3 people who survived the Holocaust. Melanie and Christopher were children who ended up in the Drancy concentration camp without their parents. Jakob Bronski took them under his wing and Melanie and Christopher were never transported to the death camp at Auschwitz. After the war Melanie went back to the US and Christopher returned to England. They thought Jakob, who had been sent to Auschwitz, had perished but years later some of his poetry was smuggled from Russia to the Western world and Melanie started corresponding with him. Melanie is married to Professor David Winters, a history professor who was once her teacher. Christopher is a fairly famous novelist. Melanie has suffered many mental breakdowns, maybe a result of her traumatic childhood or maybe a result of her husband's philandering. At the start of the novel she is in a mental institution but she is about to be released because Jakob is coming to Canada to live with her and David. Christopher will escort him to Canada so the three survivors will all be together again.
The title of the book comes from this paragraph in the first chapter:
My mother once said aboutmy father--Professor Doctor David Winters, the eminent or at least emeritus historian--that he passed jugement the way other people passed wind. For her, with her files, her dossiers, her records of humanity's crimes, jugement was a matter of arithmetic. Emotional arithmetic.
There's a good story here and some great writing. It's not a bad piece of work; I guess I was expecting more after reading Elizabeth and After. I think I'll have to try him again and see how another book strikes me.
I'm going to reserve this book for the 2012 Canada Day release challenge.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
This release is for the 2012 Canada Days release challenge.