Thursday, May 3, 2007

georges-arthur goldschmidt

I couldn't find the cover of the book (I think the only one translated into English, Lord knows why it's the only one), "Worlds of Difference", where Goldschmidt (second photo) revisits his own life during WWII in a French orphanage. However, it is hard to say it is his life since, as Peter Handke points out in the foreword, Goldschmidt's is a "nameless hero". Still his evocative prose makes you think of concepts such as homeland, identity and the dissociation that happens with exile. Goldschmidt himself spoke german and after the war started to write in French. His hardships during this period are poetically displayed in this short novel, and his conscience of being a Jew is dramatically presented through the eyes of a kid: "But then it suddenly struck him that in Sunday school, whenever the word 'jew' was uttered, the pastor would always look at him, and the word had made him frightened" (3). The narration also tackles some perceptions that have been poetically addressed by german speaking writers (Ingeborg Bachmann and Herta Muller): "the total indifference of objects that share our travels" (11). "Objects too kept separating him from home" (20). There's also an assortment of sharp perception related to sexuality, identity and perversity. Goldschmidt has translated into French many novels by Peter Handke.

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