❮Reading❯ ➼ Engel des Vergessens ➵ Author Maja Haderlap – Golanvideoagency.info
. See my full review on YouTube here was easy to love this imperfect novel translated from the German by Tess Lewis and overlook its flaws because of all that worked a powerful tale about a young Slovenian Austrian girl growing up in the 1960s with parents and an unforgettable, indomitable grandmother doing their best to come to terms with the trauma of having lived through the Nazi occupation. Angel Of Oblivion Is Based On The Experiences Of Maja Haderlap S Family And The Slovenian Speaking Minority In Southern Austria, Many Of Whom Fought As Partisans Against The Nazis During The Second World War The Story Centers On The Experiences Of A Young Girl Learning To Navigate The Terrain Between Two Hostile Communities And Two Extremely Burdened Languages Slovenian, A Language Of Heroic Resistance And Continued Humiliation, And German, An Escape From Her Stifling Rural Upbringing But Also The Language Of The Camps Which Her Grandmother Barely Survived And Many Other Family Members Didn T Engaging With Themes Of Tolerance And Integration Of Minority Communities, The Burden Of History, The Effects Of Conflicts On Survivors And Their Children, And Language S Role In Shaping Identity, Haderlap S Novel Strikes At Problems Of Paramount Importance To Our World Today Mostly not my kind of thing, but extremely artful and interesting in its own way The early chapters are bucolic, which is nice for about twenty pages, but perhaps ran on for too long by far the interesting sections of the book are towards the end, when Haderlap starts playing with history, dreams, and ideas, rather than reporting the details of Grandmother s herb drying technique But that s or less unavoidable this is a linear bildungsroman, and Haderlap is an intelligent enough author that she doesn t want to start out all sophisticated, when the focal character is a child Later in the novel, Haderlap confesses that it is hard for her to write in the first person, which explains much of the novel like Anthony Powell s Dance to the Music of Time, this is a book about a person who barely even exists in the book she or he, in Powell acting as a camera than as a consciousness for most of the time Here s what Grandmother did, what Father said, what Mother felt very little, though, about what grand daughter daughter felt, said, or did, until she s suddenly an acclaimed poet No doubt plenty of readers will have my experience upside down, very much appreciating the rich details of the first half, and feeling alienated by the cold events of the second half As a reading experience, this will doubtless frustrate almost everyone as a work of art, it is exceptional in being able to combine herb drying techniques along with other details that rapidly passed out of my memory with reflections on language and identity, history, and psychology At different moments it reminded me of, inter alia, Josef Winkler s catalogues of brutality, Ferrante s best moments i.e., when she s dealing with the fall out from the fascist years and the years of lead , and Chirbes On the Edge, which also dealt with the fall out of fascism There s also a problem of context I just read a review okay I read a headline about a book translated from Korean North Korean The review okay, headline was something like books translated from particularly under represented languages quickly look like anthropology than art That s a real problem here I knew nothing about Slovenian resistance to Nazism, nor about the Slovenian minority in Austria I learned about that from this book I would have enjoyed the book as book much had that not been the case Sad I guess I ll have to re read it. Soft, poetic treatment of the searing effects of World War II trauma on Slovenians, but all the effective for being understated A young girl gradually learns fragments of memories from her grandmother and father Beautifully written with sensitivity but never maudlin. Thank you to Archipelago for sending me a copy of this book.I have to be totally honest, I ve never read War books before, so I sadly have nothing to compare with The book is a novel, but I couldn t help myself thinking that it really is a memoir and it actually is based on the author s life Angel of Oblivion is based on the experiences of Maja Haderlap s family and the Slovenian speaking minority in southern Austria, many of whom fought as partisans against the Nazis during the Second World War The story centers on the experiences of a young girl learning to navigate the terrain between two hostile communities and two extremely burdened languages Slovenian, a language of heroic resistance and continued humiliation, and German, an escape from her stifling rural upbringing but also the language of the camps which her grandmother barely survived and many other family members didn t Engaging with themes of tolerance and integration of minority communities, the burden of history, the effects of conflicts on survivors and their children, and language s role in shaping identity, Haderlap s novel strikes at problems of paramount importance to our world today Source Archipelago Books The child and the young woman who both narrate the story totally captivated me and that writing for most of the book is so powerful, I often had to lay the book down to just breathe for a moment and to let that sink in what I ve just read You can feel every pain and every haunting memory of the past Some passages are incredibly moving, she explains how the partisans did what they needed to do in order to survive and how there wasn t a choice in it Slavs were prime targets in Hitler s racial purification and many of them ended up in concentration camps Sometimes however, when the grown woman narrated the story, something was missing She tells without showing and the small child s perspective really lacked here.This book puts another face to the very grim period of the Holocaust Read it when you re interested in WWII, but most importantly you should read it if you re interested in this particular story the book tells about, a story most people are not remembering when they think of the Holocaust. Ein wundervolles und zugleich schreckliches Dokument europ ischer Geschichte, das uns erinnern soll an das Unheil des Krieges, Familientrag dien und das Dilemma der Sprachlosigkeit. This book has been on my shelf for a few months When I started to read it I recognized some of the location names because I had just been putting together the itinerary for a trip my husband and I will be taking in August that starts in Slovenia We will be spending a week on a bicycle tour that meanders back and forth across the borders of Italy, Austria, and Slovenia The Austrian State of Carinthia lies along the borders of Italy and Slovenia In connection with this book, this description of the language spoken in the area from Wikipedia resonated The main language is German Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Bavarian group Carinthian Slovene dialects, which predominated in the southern part of the region up to the first half of the 20th century, are now spoken by a small minority After reading the GR blurb on the author, my feeling that this was an autobiographical novel was reinforced It says about this book Her award winning poetic text is a three generations family history, and highlights the resistance of the Carinthian Slovenes against the German Nazi Wehrmacht The narrator of the book whom I think of as the author proceeds to remember her life in a mostly chronological manner from when she was a child Her grandmother is predominant in her early memories Her grandmother sometimes told her stories about the Ravensbruck concentration camp and her journey back to Carinthian Her grandfather and her father and his brother were partisans Her father s story comes in bits and pieces but never very coherently It is obvious from early on that her father has PTSD After his mother, the narrator s grandmother, is arrested, her father had been brutally tortured by the Nazis before running to the partisans after his mother was arrested.The narrator has siblings, but they are rarely mentioned This story is the narrator s recollections of her childhood and then her own struggle with her family s history as partisans and then living on the Austrian side of the Austrian Slovenian border but speaking Slovenian The actions of the Nazis were horrific as they tortured and killed anyone they thought might be a partisan or associated with the partisans Whole families were wiped out Then after the war, the former partisans recognized their differences While many partisans were communists who wanted a socialist country, others were deserters from the German army who were fighting to free their country from fascism but not inclined to want it to become communist And, of course, many of the Austrian leaders post WWII had been Fascists or Nazis And then Yugoslavia broke up in 1991, Slovenian declared itself an independent country but did not find itself caught up in the Balkan Wars But this is not made a big deal in the book Instead, the narrator in the book tries to understand all the rarely discussed events of WWII and its aftermath so as to make some sense of her family and herself The last 60 pages of the book dealt with this and I found myself inserting many pieces of napkin at places that I wanted to revisit At this point in the book, the language becomes poetic, even as it describes the brutality visited on the region A few examples The war seems to have retreated into the forests of our valleys It has made the fields and meadows, the slopes and hills, the mountainsides and streambeds into its battleground It has ripped the houses, stables, kitchens, and cellars from their purpose and turned them into bastions It has taken the landscape into its clutches, sunk its teeth into the earth, it has read the geographical map as a map of war The enemy fights with bread and water, with clothing and meat, with work and silence The Gestapo put on the disguise of partisans, the Slovenian language is its cover The front passes through the most vulnerable point Fighters are dragged from the forest by the hair on the heads of their wives, their children, and their parents They are fought against through their families standing in the fields and not in the trenches They are punished threefold for their resistance and are left to ask themselves, until the ends of their lives, if the fight against the Nazis was worth the cost of engaging in this conflict and delivering up their family members to the Nazis collective punishment It is on the farms that the most superb battles are fought and the most summary trials executed Minor stories to which no one can bear witness, human lives, quickly seized, soon discarded No one saw, no one wanted to believe Things seen could rob you of sleep and speech, but the Gestapo wants people to speak all bandits seen and recognized must be reported in the right language The partisans, on the other hand, demand silence, no one must know they had come, and no sooner come, they are gone.What remains are the children who must listen as the police harass and beat their mothers, screams in their ears, leaflets in their mild canisters, secret messages in their braids, letters in snowballs, lice in their hair What remains are the footsteps in the snow that the children wipe away, the stink in the school where they are beaten because they can t speak German Carinthians speak German , and they all shit their pants when German is beaten into their fingers and heads with slaps and caning They still greet each other the same way today, hey, shitter, smelly assed crybaby, you still scaredpages 238 40 And then with respect to what it was like post WWII Is the plunder divided up in peacetime In peacetime must one be afraid of losing one s reason, of turning away a friend and embracing an enemy The hesitant, the cautious, the wounded, the horrified, the silent, the distraught will all be at a disadvantage The politics that brought about the war will deny them compassion Those wounded on many levels will trail behind So as not to provoke the majority of its citizens, the Nazi sympathizers and the German nationals, the new Austrian state will distrust those who fought against National Socialism Because, it is argued, what is dubious about their resistance is not that it was directed against the Nazis, what is objectionable about it is that it allowed them to form their own opinions about the Slovenian community s role in Carinthia s future, opinions that then had to be respected during the negotiations for the Austrian state treaty, that all we need, a law giving generous protection to a minority as a countermove to Yugoslavian territorial claims, according to the wishes of the occupying powers And all the while, Austria had nothing to do with the Nazis, Austria itself was a victim, didn t understand what was happening, didn t join in, it wasn t even a country in that difficult time No one in this country so gifted in dissimulation ever welcomed the Nazis, no one longed for the Greater German Reich, no one made themselves guilty, no one assisted the Final Solution, they just took part a little bit in the shooting, the assassinations, the gassing, but that doesn t count, nothing counts.Politics believes the language of war The politically engaged Slovenians will look at the non political without comprehension, because they were the ones, after all, who fought for their rights, because they themselves took on the task of being identifiable, of being vulnerable to attack, of being a buffer They sought refuge in action while those who were beaten down remain silent and refuse to understand why their fight for survival should become a pretext for the victory of an ideology The revolution an empty promise. pages 247 8 This is just a small sample If you have heard why there was little action taken by the allies in connection with the Austrian Nazis in the aftermath of WWII, this, and much of what follows, will make sense I thought this was a great book for anyone who is interested in WWII and its aftermath in Central and Eastern Europe Don t expect facts This is about people. Relatively alinear, absolutely eastern European, associative, autobiographical or at least very true seeming novel mostly about the narrator s coming of age and awareness after WWII Her father was a partisan who resisted the Nazis, a drinker, a smoker, scarred for life by a few years on the run The usual WWII atrocity exhibition, agrarian peasant life shattered by modernity and war, a consciousness coming into its own very much affected by the reverberations of conflict around her, expressing itself ultimately in poetry art Very straightforward language at first when the narrator is young becomes progressively lyrical, unpredictable, sometimes a little flighty in an non annoying way as she matures, interspersed with exposition almost like a hastily written history book A pleasant read if you like the occasional paragraphless list of brutalities and suicides Gave me a nightmare in which I escaped into the woods to hide from occupying forces Look for it from Archipelago later this summer. This book is presented as a novel, but it s hard, in reading it, not to think of it as a memoir I have given some thought to what makes a novel read as a memoir and I can t quite pinpoint it but maybe we expect a novel to have a certain dymanic form, and to be shaped by certain dramatic occurrences and by a certain progressive development This book is driven by the urgency of telling a story that hasn t been told, that of the Slovenian minority in Austria during WWII This, too, felt memoiristic rather than novelistic to me, in this particular book, though of course this needn t be the case for every book driven by a historical urgency In any case, I was captured by the writing for most of the book the protagonist s childhood, the increasingly haunting memories that fell her family and many of her fellow villagers, and that eventually fill up her mind Her collapse under the cumulative weight of all this silenced, unprocessed past The unrecognition of Austro Slovenian partisans both by the Austrian and the then Yugoslavian governments, the former because the partisans are perceived as affiliated a bit too much with communism, the latter because they are not communist enough There are some incredibly moving passages in which the narrator explains see how the partisans simply did what needed to be done for their and their community s survival how it wasn t even a choice really They were Slavs, therefore prime targets in Hitler s path of racial purification And many of them, the majority of those who didn t join the partisans in the mountains, ended up, in fact, in concentration camps, and only a few returned, and those who returned were never the same The child and then young woman who narrates the story conveys powerfully, first the mystery in which her family and the entire village is steeped then her own sense of responsibility for the survival of her family, in which trauma is ravaging minds and physical health then her need to leave but also, at a distance, to understand, because if she understands the terrible trauma and the terrible belittlement and disgracing that followed maybe, just maybe, things will get better, for someone, maybe As a document of a poorly known corner of WWII this is terrific As a document of what makes some people last and some people fold, this is terrific too, But at the end, 1 5 to the end, I felt that the novel had told me whatever story it had to tell and there was no need to continue I wish a careful editor had gotten in here and cut the bits that needed to be cut and blended a bit rationally the bits that needed to be connected There is too much repetition There is, also, some clumsy meshing of styles Still, if you are interested in the particular story this book tells, then you should read it And if you are a WWII buff, then you should read it And if you feel compelled to remember the people who died for justice and freedom but history forgot, then you should read it too Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.