The Holocaust Kid by Sonia Pilcer

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A major work of autobiographical fiction by a second generation Holocaust writer--funny, erotic, irreverent, and deeply moving. The Holocaust Kid belongs to the growing body of work by authors who are children of Holocaust survivors. But from the opening story, "Survivors' Dance," in which Genia and Heniek meet and fall in love, "throwing themselves against each other, bones clanging with hunger," and Genia watches Heniek shave, "envying his razor, wishing it were her tongue"--we know we are in a passionate, new terrain. In these interconnected stories, we follow Genia and Heniek Palovsky and their daughter in their postwar life, from the Displaced Persons camp in Germany where Zosha is born ("the spitten image of Elizabet Tailor!") to New York City, where Heniek works in a knitting mill and Genia cultivates a circle of survivor friends, all with "Lodz-beige" hair. Zosha is a writer--by day summoning her "shlock muse in rhinestone harlequin glasses, cabana pants, and spiked heels" to write Elizabeth Taylor stories for the readers of Movie Screen and by night, writing "blood-eyed poems" about the Holocaust. Obsessed with events that took place before her birth, Zosha's entire life is touched by the Holocaust. In "The Big H," she storms the stage of St. John the Divine during a conference to recite her poetry. She falls in love with "her own private Nazi" in "Remember 6,000,000," and then is seduced in "Shoah Casanova" by a Jewish Holocaust scholar who wears "tall, Gestapo black boots" and specializes in kinky sex and betrayal. Finally, "Generation H" explores the special bond "3G" grandson Jesse has with now elderly Heniek and Genia. From her first novel, cult classic Teen Angel (1978), to her widely reprinted 1990 essay "2G," in which she exposed the psychological scars of being a child of survivors, Pilcer has followed the Holocaust legacy as it courses through lust and desire, guilt and fear, and unexpected joy. This long-awaited collection reveals with unflinching honesty and wild humor, the emotional depths beneath the quest to free oneself from an ever-present past.

About Sonia Pilcer

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Published August 1, 2001 by Persea Books. 192 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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And in the final piece, “Blue Paradise,” Zoe—now married and herself a mother—vacationing with aging Genia and Heniek, rejoices that they can “grow old, as no other member of the family could, old enough to love a grandchild.” Fresh and affecting takes on deep if familiar ground.

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her wild ways prompt her father to shout, "I should have died in the camps."

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