Literature and War Readalong August 31 2012: The Story of a Life – Sippur chajim by Aharon Appelfeld

I haven’t read a lot of literature written by Israeli authors which is one more reason why I was keen on including Aharon Applefeld’s The Story of a Life – Sippur chajim. But that’s not the only reason. The Literature and War Readalong is also an opportunity for me to read some highly acclaimed authors I haven’t read before. The first time I read something about Aharon Applefeld I was surprised to find out that some poeple think he is one of the finest writers alive. An exquisite writer with a sense for language and style.

The Story of a Life is a literary memoir, one of my very favourite genres. At the outbreak of WWII Aharon Appelfeld was living in Romania with his parents, middle-class Jews. His memoir tells about a boy coming-of age during one of the worst periods in history. Applefeld had to endure a lot – the loss of his mother, the ghetto, escape, traversing many countries – until he found a new home in Israel. The book tells this story. If the whole book reads like the quote below I think we are in for a treat.

Here are the first sentences

At what point does my memory begin? It sometimes seems to me as if it only began at four, when we set off for the first time, Mother, Father and I, for a vacation into the heart of the shadowy, moist forests of the Carpathians. But I sometimes think that memory began to bud from within me before that, in my room, next to the double-glazed window that was decorated with paper flowers. Snow is falling and fleecy soft flakes are coming down from the sky with a sound so faint you cannot hear it. For hours I sit and gaze in wonder, until I merge with the white flow and drift to sleep.


The discussion starts on Friay, 31 August 2012.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2012, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.