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Trieste Paperback – 28 Feb 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press; Paperback 2013 edition (28 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780878354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780878355
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Although this is fiction, it is also a deeply researched historical documentary ... It is a masterpiece' A.N. Wilson, Financial Times. (Financial Times)

'Original, moving and beautifully translated and produced' Guardian. (Guardian)

'A literary tour-de-force' Amanda Hopkinson, Independent. (Independent)

'The multifarious elements that comprise Haya's story and its grand context are an incredibly dense and potent mixture' Daniel Dahn, Independent on Sunday. (Independent on Sunday)

From the Inside Flap

"A masterpiece" (A. N. Wilson), this many-layered novel of WWII combines fiction with a collage of facts to explore the fate of Italian Jews under Nazi occupation, through the intimate story of a mother's search for her son.
Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, in northeastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an SS officer and stolen from her by the German authorities as part of Himmler s clandestine "Lebensborn "project.
Haya reflects on her Catholicized Jewish family s experiences, dealing unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps, and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, and to eyewitness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. From this broad collage of material and memory arises the staggering chronicle of Nazi occupation in northern Italy.
Written in immensely powerful language and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, "Trieste "is a novel like no other. Da a Drndic has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of twentieth-century history.
" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this masterly blending of fact and fiction, Dasa Drndic has produced an extraordinary work, one recognised in the UK by the judges of The Independent Foreign Fiction 2012 awards.

So far as the historical record goes, the book is concerned with the rounding-up of around 9,000 Jews in German-occupied North-Eastern Italy, the area centred on Trieste, and their transport north to (mainly) Treblinka. When winter snow closed the Brenner Pass, the wagons went the long way round through supposedly neutral Switzerland. In addition, many captured partisans and anti-Fascists were taken to a converted rice-mill outside town and liquidated.

The book makes extensive use of archives, including transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials and the later trials of those involved in the many cruelties of Treblinka. The book is full of historical characters, not just leading Nazis but also junior officers and others running the camps, and `ordinary' witnesses bearing testimony. Dasa Drndic approaches her subject in oblique ways, using poetry and songs, interviews and documents, lists and photographs, to set up an almost Cubist design wherein the structure can only be viewed one part at a time and each from a different angle.

As for the 'story', the historical Kurt Franz`s career accelerates rapidly as the 1930s becomes the 1940s. In the 1930s he has been a cook at one of the euthanasia centres set up under `Aktion Reinhard', a programme whose purpose is the elimination of the physically and mentally disabled (as determined by the SS) in Southern and Eastern Poland.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“She has always been somehow weightless, free of the heavy burden of mother tongues, national histories, native soils, homelands, fatherlands, myths, that many of the people around her tote on their backs like a sack of red-hot stones.”
This is Haya Tedeschi who, at the beginning of the novel, is an old Jewish woman sitting in a rocking chair in the Italian town of Gorizia, near Trieste. She is surrounded by documents, photographs, cuttings. Her head is swarming with memories, “melting in her mind like chocolate”.

It should be remembered that Trieste was one of those places which was a disputed territory in both world wars. A kind of no-man’s land perennially awaiting the outcome of some new military action. Its inhabitants never quite sure of where they belonged, pressed in by borders that were continually shifting around them. In short, it’s an inspired place to set a novel about the horrors of world war two.

Haya’s story is constructed piece by piece with frequent brilliantly researched documentary interludes. The artistry with which this novel moves back and forth between the personal and the public, a microcosm and a macrocosm of the Holocaust is, for the most part, brilliant. Haya’s story is told with a kind of disarming playful lyricism at times which reminded me of Nicole Krauss but without Krauss’ whimsy, her artificial sweeteners (which I enjoy) . We learn about Haya’s family’s displacement during the first world war. We learn that, like most Italian Jews, they are integrated into Italian life and do not identify themselves primarily as Jewish. To outsiders they are essentially indistinguishable from any other local resident. We see how they are forced by events to become nomads. Work takes them to Albania, Milan, Naples, Venice and Trieste.
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By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This documentary novel by Croatian writer Dasa Drndic is one of the most powerful and compelling books I have ever read, and deserves to become a classic of Nazi and Holocaust literature Centred around the family story of Haya Tedeschi, it tells of her relationship with an SS officer and the abduction of her baby when a few months old by the Lebesnborn programme. Sixty-two years later the novel opens with Haya still waiting to be reunited with him after a lifetime spent searching, and reminiscing about her turbulent past as she does so.
Within this narrative framework, the author has assembled an astonishing collage of eyewitness testimony, official documents, personal biographies, photographs, trial transcripts and even a complete list of the 9,000 Italians who were deported to the death camps. Much of the book covers familiar territory, as the era is well documented in both fiction and non-fiction. But Drndic brings a new dimension to the events by setting her story in Italy and bringing to our attention some of the lesser-known aspects of the time, such as, for example, a description of the Risiera of San Sabba, the only concentration camp on Italian soil, today a little-known and little-visited memorial, and the fact that freight-trains carrying Italian Jews and anti-fascists were allowed to travel through neutral Switzerland.
This book is an amazing achievement, meshing together both fiction and non-fiction, with almost every page presenting the reader with a new fact, a new scenario, so that the sum total is almost overwhelming. So unremitting is the tension that I couldn’t put it down and read it almost in one sitting. Even if some of the material is familiar, our involvement in Haya’s personal story as an individual brings home to us once again the true horror of the Hitler era.
The front cover calls the book “a monumental contribution to the literature of Europe’s modern history” and with that I most wholeheartedly concur.
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