Himmelfarb: a novel

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G. Braziller, 1994 - Fiction - 203 pages
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A young anthropology student during the Third Reich, Richard sets off to South America to observe the indigenous peoples and cultures. Ignoring the guidelines of his professor, Richard hires a Jew, Leo Himmelfarb, to accompany and assist him during his two year journey. While Richard expresses only alarm and disdain for the natives he encounters, Leo immerses himself in Brazilian culture, demonstrating a genuine enthusiasm and curiosity for his discoveries. When Leo falls seriously ill, he dictates a brilliant manuscript to Richard, who, leaving Leo for dead, promises to have it published. Publish it he does, but under his own name, and to great critical acclaim. On his eightieth birthday, Richard receives a letter containing these searing words: "You are a language thief - since I know that in your long life you were capable one day of seizing my sentences and publishing them as your own. Dwelling in you is awful, dear Richard.... I don't want to be your faithful companion any longer, your book dedication Jew.... I await your suggestions". It is signed by Leo Himmelfarb. Like a reified nightmare, these words confirm to Richard that his distinguished professional career, indeed his entire life, has been a lie. His response determines the conclusion of this thrilling and witty novel in which Michael Kruger, playing the past off the present, explores the tenuous boundaries of a relationship between two vastly different, and yet inextricably bound, lives.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In this artfully written German import, KrĹger (The Man in the Tower, 1993, etc.) turns a satiric eye on an 80-year-old man whose esteemed career has been built on a lie. Starting in 1942, a graduate ... Read full review

Himmelfarb: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In the early 1940s, Richard, a young and inexperienced German ethnologist, travels through the Amazon with Leo Himmelfarb, an impoverished expatriate Galician Jew who serves as guide and mentor ... Read full review


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