Until the Dawn's Light by Aharon Appelfeld
A Novel

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Synopsis

***NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER (2012)***

From the award-winning, internationally acclaimed writer (“One of the best novelists alive” —Irving Howe): a Jewish woman marries a gentile laborer in turn-of-the-century Austria, with disastrous results.
 
A high school honor student bound for university and a career as a mathematician, Blanca lives with her parents in a small town in Austria in the early years of the twentieth century. At school one day she meets Adolf, who comes from a family of peasant laborers. Tall and sturdy, plainspoken and uncomplicated, Adolf is unlike anyone Blanca has ever met. And Adolf is awestruck by beautiful, brilliant Blanca–even though she is Jewish. When Blanca is asked by school administrators to tutor Adolf, the inevitable happens: they fall in love. And when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca abandons her plans to attend university, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind.
 
Almost immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong. Told in a series of flashbacks as Blanca and her son flee from their town with the police in hot pursuit, the tragic story of Blanca’s life with Adolf recalls a time and place that are no more but that powerfully reverberate in collective memory.




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 October 11, 2011 by Schocken. 240 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Until the Dawn's Light

Kirkus Reviews

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Blanca finds herself trying to balance competing family claims when her mother has a lengthy stay at a tuberculosis hospital and her father is confined to an “old people’s home,” largely at Adolf’s insistence, at the young age of 53.

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The New York Times

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The novel’s real tragedy, Appelfeld seems to argue, is the larger-scale conversion of the Eastern Jews and the disastrous marriage they made to an Austria and Germany whose governments considered their assimilation as immaterial as Adolf Hammer considers Blanca’s conversion, and whose eventual ai...

Oct 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Until the Dawn's Light: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Tense, occasionally heavy-handed, but ultimately compelling, the latest from Appelfeld (Blooms of Darkness) depicts the world of early 20th-century Austrian Jews, many of whom have abandoned their ancestral traditions and converted to Christianity.

Aug 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Until the Dawn's Light: A Novel

New York Journal of Books

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“despite everything, our sympathies remain clearly and profoundly with Blanca, regardless of her culminating acts.

Oct 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Until the Dawn's Light: A Novel

Historical Novel Society

Blanca Guttman is a promising high school student when she is assigned to tutor Adolf Hammer, a Christian from a working-class family.

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Bookmarks Magazine

And when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca abandons her plans to attend university, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind.

Almost immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Until the Dawn's Light: A Novel

The New Yorker

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Oct 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Until the Dawn's Light: A Novel

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