A Verse from Babylon
'Siz an emese mayse: this story is true. A Verse From Babylon is a series of snapshots which never existed, but the people within them did. Told in a mosaic of scenes and events, it chronicles the lives of a group of Jewish friends who banded together to create the repertory theatre in the ghetto of Vilna, Lithuania, under the Nazi regime. A reminder that the camps were not the first step along the road to the Holocaust, A Verse From Babylon presents Raissa and Violeta, Fayge and Beniek, and their fellow artists not as victims of a violent genocidal war, but as humans with human interests: art, theatre, poetry, and music, all of which they created or helped to foster in the Vilna ghetto. As they fall one by one to the brutalities of the ghetto, they continue to fight back with their only weapons: words, subterfuge, and defiance. Written with a lyrical style and a sense of reverence for the people she has studied, the author flawlessly transforms real-life events into a powerful work of literature. Foregoing traditional narrative form, she presents the story of the Vilna Ghetto as it might have appeared to those living in it: a series of events and conversations retold with understanding and grace, but also with a fearless view of the facts of ghetto life. From the lush description of fresh fruit in front of starving Jews to the striking final images of rebellion and sacrifice, she treats language as both a means of comfort and a method of survival.
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