All Whom I Have Loved by Aharon Appelfeld
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Aharon Appelfeld

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Aharon Appelfeld is the award-winning author of more than forty internationally acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including Badenheim 1939, The Iron Tracks, Blooms of Darkness, and Until the Dawn's Light.
 
Published December 10, 2008 by Schocken. 254 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for All Whom I Have Loved

Kirkus Reviews

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Concentrated in the spare declarative sentences that are the author’s trademark, the novel deftly renders Paul’s growing awareness of both his mother’s need for more love than he can give her (provided now by the new husband, whom Paul bitterly resents) and the anger intensifying in his father, w...

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The New York Times

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In 2004, after the publication of his affecting memoir, “The Story of a Life,” Appelfeld told an interviewer he rejected the idea that he should or could write about collective misfortune rather than individual memory, and explained that the characters in his novels are “a kind of projection of m...

Apr 15 2007 | Read Full Review of All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel

The New York Times

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They’ve forgotten that they’re the sons of kings” — and that Paul himself is a “little prince.” This is all too deep for the boy, who replies, in perplexity, “I’m only 9 years old.” It’s no crime that Paul isn’t shrewder or more sophisticated, but Appelfeld blurs the boy’s outline by swaddling hi...

Apr 15 2007 | Read Full Review of All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Paul, whose isolation is exacerbated by his exemption from school because of his asthma, watches as, in short order, his parents divorce, his adored nanny is killed by her jealous fiancé and his schoolteacher mother abandons him (first when she marries a colleague and converts to Christianity, an...

Dec 18 2006 | Read Full Review of All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel

California Literary Review

Still, when his mother arrives home late each evening, exhausted by her arduous teaching schedule, he tries his hardest to please her, to show his fondness and loyalty, for he eagerly wishes to hold her regard.

Apr 10 2007 | Read Full Review of All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel

ReadySteadyBook

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But Blanchot, quite rightly, only spends his time thinking along with and writing about writers who deserve a reader as astute as he was.

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ReadySteadyBook

But Blanchot, quite rightly, only spends his time thinking along with and writing about writers who deserve a reader as astute as he was.

Mar 30 2007 | Read Full Review of All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel

http://readysteadybook.com

But Blanchot, quite rightly, only spends his time thinking along with and writing about writers who deserve a reader as astute as he was.

Mar 30 2007 | Read Full Review of All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel

Reader Rating for All Whom I Have Loved
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