In Paradise

In Paradise

Book - 2014
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In the winter of 1996, more than a hundred women and men of diverse nationality, background, and belief gather at the site of a former concentration camp for an unprecedented purpose: a weeklong retreat during which they will offer prayer and witness at the crematoria and meditate in all weathers on the selection platform, while eating and sleeping in the quarters of the Nazi officers who, half a century before, sent more than a million Jews to their deaths. Clements Olin, an American academic of Polish descent, has come along, ostensibly to complete research on the death of a survivor, even as he questions what a non-Jew can contribute to the understanding of so monstrous a catastrophe. As the days pass, tensions, both political and personal, surface among the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to healing or closure. Finding himself in the grip of emotions and impulses of bewildering intensity, Olin is forced to abandon his observer's role and to embrace a history his family has long suppressed, and with it the yearnings and contradictions of being fully alive.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2014
ISBN: 9781594633171
Branch Call Number: MAT
Characteristics: 246 p. ;,25 cm

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uncommonreader
Aug 04, 2014

As always with Matthiessen, the writing is beautiful and the ideas very interesting, but in this case it is as if the subject is too big and eludes him.

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kn1226
Jun 25, 2015

Yes, this may hurt.

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