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June 22, 2004



Ah, many years have passed since I read that novel. There are two other Grossman novels which I enjoyed reading: The Zig-Zag Kid and The Smile of the Lamb. None are as complex as See Under: Love, and some are pedestrian (i.e. The Book of Interior Grammar).
See Under: Love also employs Bruno Schulz, in the form of a fish. Schulz has gained symbolic importance in the past two decades and has become an impossibly complex figure. He is a symbol for the art/culture/literature lost at Auschwitz. Hagiography aside, he represents modern central european literature that could have been. (Cynthia Ozick used his vanished manuscript in The Messiah of Stockholm). On the other hand, his story is one of those sickening holocaust stories of art, childhood, enslavement and death that you wouldn't believe if you saw it in a film. Then there are those frescoes carted off to Yad Vashem...
Grossman does what Kertesz (or G. Konrad) cannot do: write Auschwitz fiction. I have read a lot of Auschwitz fiction and Grossman's is the best.
And by the way, maybe you'd like some of that Survivor novelry: Danilo Kis, Gyorgy Konrad... I can't stand it. Bernhard bleakness and Shulzian magic-realism, all soaked in poisoned blood and coated in real fatty ash.

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