Page 123 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

Basic HTML Version

Abuse oftheHolocaust
her marriage to an Englishman, is subtle and striking. And there is
more. Continuing her struggle to return to life Julie returns to
Germany and there takes a new lover, Kurt, a young German, the
son of a former storm-trooper. Sam, unwilling to give Julie up, fol­
lows her and has a confrontation with Kurt who tells him: “They
[the Nazis] showed us that no one is answerable to anyone else.
They’re living proof that anything goes.” Alvarez has Sam ponder
Kurt’s words. “They were survivors to a man. . . . Anything goes
he’d said. But only, thought Sam, over my dead body. Or the bod­
ies of Jews like me. He stopped short, that’s ghetto talk” (pp. ISO-
186). And then Alvarez has Sam return to England, leaving revital­
izing ministrations of her post-Holocaust German lover, the only
true survivors.
Akin to the “perversion” of the Holocaust is what may be called
the “rejection” of the Holocaust in literature. Anne Roiphe won
popular recognition with her novel,
Up the Sandbox
(1970), a story
about a liberated young mother struggling to save her soul while
raising her children on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She fol­
lowed this with another well-written novel called
Long Division
(1972), the story of another New York mother, this time one going
through divorce. Emily Brinberg loads herself and her young
daughter, Sarah, into a station wagon and sets off on a cross-coun-
try trip to use the time and diversion offered by such a drive to
work out in her own mind her personal problems. We grasp, of
course, the double meaning of the tide Roiphe chose,
Long Divi­
, literally and figuratively separation via a long cross-country
The novel reaches it climax as Emily nears Mexico, where her
divorce is to be effected, struggling to understand the very serious
crisis she has reached in her life. This young Jewish woman comes
to the conclusion that one of the main reasons for her inability to
function properly as a human-being is the fact that she is filled with
guilt over the Holocaust. She determines, therefore, that the way