"Had I read "Searching for Schindler" before making the film, I may have made it an hour longer. I owe you so much. The world owes you more."
In this touching and often humorous memoir, [Keneally] recounts months traveling to Germany, Israel, Austria, the U.S. and Poland with Poldek to interview 'Schindlerjuden' - the survivors rescued by Schindler . Keneally engages the reader with tales about himself as well. He writes about becoming a novelist, his creative anxieties that fueled the writing process, his experiences with publishers and the toll writing the book took on him and his family. Hollywood anecdotes about Spielberg and the film's stars, including Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes, provide a fascinating insider view of how movies are made. What's hard to fathom is that before Keneally walked into Poldek's shop nearly three decades ago, Schindler was hardly known. This is the story of how that changed forever.
The Australian author is a genial, unaffected companion in this leisurely voyage around "Schindler s List" (1982) . In prose so clear it glistens, he describes working on early drafts of the screenplay with Steven Spielberg (who eventually, gently, fired him) and the production of the film, much of which he observed . An essential companion to the original novel.
Keneally provides some interesting insights into the process of turning a series of decades-old remembrances into a great book. The strength of this work, however, are the stories of the survivors and their efforts to live with a degree of normalcy.
The star of "Searching for Schindler," from beginning to end, is not Mr. Keneally but Mr. Page [the Holocaust survivor who introduced Mr. Keneally to Schindler's story]. He begs, he exhorts, he presses money into the hands of the needy, he opens every door Mr. Keneally needs opened, often through sheer force of will and personality. He even turns out to be friendly with Leah Adler, Mr. Spielberg's mother, from the kosher dairy restaurant she ran in Beverley Hills. Next to him Mr. Keneally seems like a wallflower. Both the comedy and the horror contained in this memoir are present in a throwaway comment Mr. Page makes to Mr. Keneally: 'You wouldn't have lasted two weeks with the Nazis. They loved killing guys like you. Poetic guys.'
-"The New York Times""show more