Mendelssohn Is on the Roof by Jiri Weil
A Novel

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Julius Schlesinger, aspiring SS officer, has received orders to remove from the roof of Prague's concert hall the statue of the Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn. But which of the figures adorning the roof is the Jew? Remembering his course on racial science, Schlesinger instructs his men to pull down the statue with the biggest nose. Only as the statue they have carefully chosen begins to topple does he recognize that it is not Mendelssohn; it is Richard Wagner.

Thus begins a story of disarming simplicity that traces the transformation of ordinary lives in Nazi-occupied Prague. Death abetted by the petty malevolence of Nazi functionaries wins all the battles but ultimately loses the war, defeated by the fragile flowering of courage and defiance.


About Jiri Weil

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Published April 12, 1991 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 228 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In what's more a collage of incidents and vignettes than a conventional novel, Czech writer Weil (Life With a Star, 1989) here celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of death and the absurdity of life.

Apr 01 1991 | Read Full Review of Mendelssohn Is on the Roof: A...

Publishers Weekly

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From the Czech author of Life with a Star comes this fierce and mocking portrayal of the changes wrought upon ordinary lives by the Nazi occupation of Prague.

| Read Full Review of Mendelssohn Is on the Roof: A...

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