Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld

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Synopsis

**WINNER OF THE 2012 INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE**

A new novel from the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Israeli writer (“One of the greatest writers of the age”—The Guardian), a haunting, heartbreaking story of love and loss.
 
The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him. Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she rages at the Nazi soldiers who come and go. When she’s not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protective of the bewildered, painfully polite young boy. And Hugo becomes protective of Mariana, too, trying to make her laugh when she is depressed, soothing her physical and mental agony with cold compresses. As the memories of his family and friends grow dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her life spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for consolation to the adoring boy who is on the cusp of manhood.
 
The arrival of the Russian army sends the prostitutes fleeing. But Mariana is too well known, and she is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. As the novel moves toward its heartrending conclusion, Aharon Appelfeld once again crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of life and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.


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 March 2, 2010 by Schocken. 289 pages
Genres: Other, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Blooms of Darkness

Kirkus Reviews

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After several plans fall through because some possible rescuers have been transported to camps by the German authorities, Hugo’s mother places her son with Mariana, an old childhood friend who’s “fallen low.” Hugo quickly learns he is not allowed to go outside and must spend his nights in the clo...

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The New York Times

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News of the outside world comes in snatches, and though Hugo assiduously cultivates his memories — of his parents and friends, of his Uncle Sigmund (whom Mariana almost married) — Mariana herself soon occludes his view of the past.

Mar 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Blooms of Darkness

New York Journal of Books

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Be among the first to read an in depth professional review—we post midnight, date of release.

Mar 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Blooms of Darkness

NJ.com

Hugo Mansfeld is 11 when his mother, Julia, hides him in the closet of a brothel, so the Nazis will not find him.

Feb 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Blooms of Darkness

Bookmarks Magazine

Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she rages at the Nazi soldiers who come and go.

Mar 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Blooms of Darkness

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