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Tzili: the Story of a Life (Appelfeld, Aharon) Paperback – 9 Apr 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Grove Press Ed edition (9 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802134556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802134554
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.4 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,341,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

In this moving and tender tale of a young girl living in the shadow of the Holocaust, Aharon Appelfeld weaves an individual's unique story. Tzili was the youngest, least favored member of a large Jewish family. Her schooling was a failure; all she retained from her religious instruction was one prayer. Simple and meek, she was more at home with the animals in the fields than with her own kin. So when her family fled Hitler's encroaching armies, it was Tzili who stayed behind, and it was Tzili who lived alone in the forest, sought refuge with the peasants, found love, and survived. Aharon Appelfeld imbues her story with a harrowing beauty that is emblematic of an entire people's fate.

About the Author

Aharon Appelfeld is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Iron Tracks (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and Until the Dawn s Light (winner of the National Jewish Book Award). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received honorary degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, and Yeshiva University.

Aharon Appelfeld has been exploring the existential themes of the Holocaust for more than forty years. He was eight when he witnessed the murder of his mother by the Nazis. After escaping from a concentration camp, he wandered alone in the forests for two years. When the war ended he joined the Soviet Army as a kitchen boy, eventually emigrating to Palestine in 1946. The author of eleven internationally acclaimed novels, including Badenheim 1939, The Age of Wonders, The Retreat, and Unto the Soul, he lives in Jerusalem, Israel.


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By Lost John TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Except that Tzili, the main character in this story, is a girl, we may presume that much of what Aharon Appelfeld writes is drawn from his own experience following the 1941 Axis invasion of Bukovina and its principal city, Chernivtsi, where he and his family lived. Appelfeld was nine years old when his family was forced from its home and, like the several thousand other Jewish families in Chernivtsi, either murdered immediately (as was Appelfeld's mother) or forced to move south-eastwards into Transnistria, living in prison camps and in many cases dying there. Tzili is a little older than Appelfeld was, being 12 at the time of the invasion.

Tzili is considered dull by comparison with her brother and sisters, not worth any serious attempt at education, or even much parental attention, and is somehow left behind when her family flees from the Nazis. Fortunate in not being obviously identifiable as a Jew from her dress or her speech, Tzili manages to eke out an existence living in the forest in summer, and in winter with peasants willing to feed her in exchange for domestic and farm labour. Appelfeld did much the same, though he was initially imprisoned and managed to escape. In this novel, another character, Mark, is given the escape from a camp experience.

We know from Appelfeld's 2004 autobiography The Story of a Life (yes the title is the same as the subtitle of this book) that his first winter of the war was spent with a peasant woman who lived by selling her sexual favours.
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