All Whom I Have Loved

All Whom I Have Loved

by Aharon Appelfeld, Aloma Halter

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Overview

The haunting story of a Jewish family in Eastern Europe in the 1930s that prefigures the fate of the Jews during World War II.

At the center is nine-year-old Paul Rosenfeld, the beloved only child of divorced parents, through whose eyes we view a dissolving, increasingly chaotic world. Initially, Paul lives with his mother–a secular, assimilated schoolteacher, who he adores until she “betrays” him by marrying the gentile André. He is then sent to live with his father–once an admired avant-garde artist, but now reviled by the critics as a “decadent Jew,” who drowns his anger, pain, and humiliation in drink. Paul searches in vain for stability and meaning in a world that is collapsing around him, but his love for the earthy peasant girl who briefly takes care of him, the strange pull he feels towards the Jews praying in the synagogue near his home, and the fascination with which he observes Eastern Orthodox church rituals merely give him tantalizing glimpses into worlds of which he can never be a part.

The fates that Paul’s parents will meet with Paul as terrified witness–his mother, deserted by her new husband and dying of typhus; his father, gunned down while trying to stop the robbery of a Jewish-owned shop–and his own fate as an orphaned Jewish child alone in Europe in 1938 are rendered with extraordinary subtlety and power, as they foreshadow, in the heart-wrenching story of three individuals, the cataclysm that is about to engulf all of European Jewry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307481320
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/10/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

AHARON APPELFELD is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Iron Tracks, Until the Dawn's Light (both winners of the National Jewish Book Award), The Story of a Life (winner of the Prix Médicis Étranger), and Badenheim 1939. Other honors he has received include the Giovanni Boccaccio Literary Prize, the Nelly Sachs Prize, the Israel Prize, the Bialik Prize, and the MLA Commonwealth Award. Blooms of Darkness won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2012 and was short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013. Born in Czernowitz, Bukovina (now part of Ukraine), in 1932, he died in Israel in 2018.

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All Whom I Have Loved 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
mojomomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Told from a young boy's point of view, we see the growing Anti-Semitism in Germany and other Eastern European countries in the 1930's. Paul also witnesses the divorce and eventual death of each parent. Not a happy, feel-good type of book, but it is compelling. There is little dialogue, but Appelfeld certainly captures the mood.
schatzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
***this review contains spoilers!***Having been blown away by Appelfeld's The Conversion, I bought a few more of his books - All Whom I Have Loved being one of them. It's similar to The Conversion in some ways: a pre-Holocaust Europe setting, anti-Semitism, and a great deal of sadness and death. However, there are many differences between the two stories, so I didn't feel like I was reading the same book.Paul, a young Jewish boy, lives with his parents until their divorce. His mother obtains a teaching position in another city, and Paul moves there with her. He is taken care of by a local girl, Halina, whom he at first doesn't like but grows quite fond of rather quickly. Halina, unfortunately, is murdered by her fiance, and her death shakes Paul. Meanwhile, Paul's mother is having a relationship with a Gentile named Andre, whom she eventually marries. Paul's father, a distant, alcoholic, rather tortured artist-turned-schoolteacher, visits him only sporadically, but eventually comes to retrieve Paul from his mother. Paul lives with him for a while, traveling to Bucharest when his father attempts to become an artist again. But, due to anti-Semitism and his "decadent" (and provocative) style, the father's art exhibit does not go well. Coupled with Paul's mother's desertion by her new husband and death of typhus, and Paul's father's world falls apart. The father falls deeper and deeper into despair, loses all of the money he has, and is eventually killed. Paul, whose parents were both orphans, is now orphaned himself, and must go to live in an orphanage. And though nothing is said of Paul's fate, one can't help but think that a poor, young, Jewish boy on the brink of the Holocaust is not going to fare well in the years to come.The book, as a previous reviewer mentioned, is very sad, but considering the time frame in which this book is set, I would be surprised not to have it be relentlessly sad. And I love Appelfeld's writing style; I read somewhere (and I wish I remembered where) that Appelfeld chose to write in Hebrew (the language in which this book was originally published) because it necessitates being sharp, without relying on flowery language to get your point across. Every sentence must mean something or convey something, and that is very true of his work. No sentence is wasted.I will definitely be reading more of his works, although I am giving myself a break of at least a few months before starting another of his novels. They're quite emotionally charged.
abirdman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't finish this book. It is relentlessly sad, told from the eyes of a child with only moderately functioning, and separated, parents. Short, simple chapters, each with a vignette or description of a day or an event. As they progress, they create a series of deep memories-- I just knew that the end of of the book was going to be devastating.