See Under

See Under : Love

By (author) David Grossman

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Momik, the protagonist of the book, is the only child of survivors of the Holocaust. He grows up in the shadow of their history, determined to understand the nature of the Nazi beast and to prepare for a holocaust he knows is still to come.

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  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 34mm | 299.38g
  • 04 Nov 1999
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0099289881
  • 9780099289883
  • 808,447

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Review text

Grossman (the best-selling The Yellow Wind, 1988, nonfiction about the Israeli/Palestinian situation) now offers a phantasmagoric novel about one man's agonizing attempt to come to terms with the Holocaust - a tale that successfully merges history, personal mythology, and literary experiment. Momik, the precocious only child of Holocaust survivors, is brought up in Israel in a traumatized family that sweeps the Holocaust under the rug - until Grandfather Anshel (once a children's writer known as "Scheherazade") arrives in 1959. Momik then begins a secret, complex investigation into the mythical place Over There, inhabited by the Nazi Beast - an investigation, both fantastical and grounded in obsessive research, that becomes his life. In successive sections here, he imagines the death and life of the writer Bruno Schulz (who becomes a participant in Momik's own life); re-creates the life of Anshel (who stays alive in a concentration camp by telling stories about "children of the heart" to Neigel, the camp commandant - eventually winning the broken commandant's faith); and encyclopedically dissects both the life of Karik (Anshel's fictional hero) and the relationship (complex, at times symbiotic) between Anshel and Neigel. As this involuted chronicle unfolds, there are stories-within-stories and meta-fictional comments by Momik (who is, of course, a writer re-creating the past according to his own needs). Anshel's fiction finally explains Momik's life: the book ends with a prayer that "man might live in this world from birth to death and know nothing of war." A tour de force: difficult, elusive, circular, and a triumph. (Kirkus Reviews)

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