Suddenly, Love by Aharon Appelfeld
A Novel

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...Appelfeld is returning to something...Jewish Communists whose greatest hatred was directed toward their fellow Jews. In giving Ernst a past as a young, militant Communist, Appelfeld deprives him of the easy position of the innocent victim and sheds light on a fascinating, deeply disturbing aspect of European Jewish life...
-NY Times

Synopsis

A poignant, heartbreaking new work by “one of the best novelists alive” (Irving Howe)—the story of a lonely older man and his devoted young caretaker who transform each other’s lives in ways they could never have imagined.
 
Ernst is a gruff seventy-year-old Red Army veteran from Ukraine who landed, almost by accident, in Israel after World War II. A retired investment adviser, he lives alone (his first wife and baby daughter were killed by the Nazis; he divorced his shrewish second wife) and spends his time laboring over his unpublished novels. Irena, in her mid-thirties, is the unmarried daughter of Holocaust survivors who has been taking care of Ernst since his surgery two years earlier; she arrives every morning promptly at eight and usually leaves every afternoon at three. Quiet and shy, Irena is in awe of Ernst’s intellect. And as the months pass, Ernst comes to depend on the gentle young woman who runs his house, listens to him read from his work, and occasionally offers a spirited commentary on it.
 
But Ernst’s writing gives him no satisfaction, and he is haunted by his godless, Communist past. His health, already poor, begins to deteriorate even further; he becomes mired in depression and seems to lose the will to live. But this is something Irena will not allow. As she becomes an increasingly important part of his life—moving into his home, encouraging him in his work, easing his pain—Ernst not only regains his sense of self and discovers the path through which his writing can flow but he also discovers, to his amazement, that Irena is in love with him. And, even more astonishing, he realizes that he is in love with her, too.




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 May 6, 2014 by Schocken. 241 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Suddenly, Love
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 13 2014

Appelfeld writes simply but gorgeously about important things, and the translation is particularly graceful and supple.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Mary Gordon on Jun 20 2014

...Appelfeld is returning to something...Jewish Communists whose greatest hatred was directed toward their fellow Jews. In giving Ernst a past as a young, militant Communist, Appelfeld deprives him of the easy position of the innocent victim and sheds light on a fascinating, deeply disturbing aspect of European Jewish life...

Read Full Review of Suddenly, Love: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by David Cooper on May 05 2014

Though not Appelfeld’s best work, Suddenly, Love despite its deceptive simplicity offers much food for thought and would be a good choice for book groups.

Read Full Review of Suddenly, Love: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for Suddenly, Love
80%

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