Diamonds of the Night by Arnost Lustig

By Arnost Lustig

I think this can be Lustig's most famed assortment. back, it really is no Tadeusz Borowski. yet no longer each person can write the easiest tales of the camp adventure. nonetheless, it truly is the most effective and that i hugely suggest it. a person now not moved by way of those tales will not be quite examining heavily or anything.

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another in a sequence of tale collections in keeping with the Holocaust (Night and wish, p. 376): focus camps, burning villages, and--in the final tales--the wake of the defeated German military. Lustig's such a lot winning characters are children--starving, orphaned, fragile as old skulls, sopping wet in horrors. A boy attempts to exchange his lifeless father's trousers, after which gold from the corpse's tooth, for part a lemon to save lots of his death sister; one other survives an afternoon of atrocity to dream ultimately of ""a land of heat and sun""; and a tender killer who has blown up German tanks with a fireplace bomb arranges for the merciful suicide of his grandfather prior to he's himself decreased to ashes. After ""liberation,"" camp survivors witness a brand new form of ""justice"": a baby who has skilled unspeakable atrocities at the beginning exults within the killing of Germans--a river jam-packed with our bodies, rags, blood, and oil--but then makes a decision to check the that means of the ""right"" after which the ""duty"" of killing. In his stark narrative and spare dialogue--as skeletal because the starved our bodies of the speakers--Lustig sustains the truth of individuals scoured through obscene torture and loss, learning islands of sanity in nightmare: ""Hope,"" thinks a doomed boy, ""can be a damned messy company. . . . Hopelessness places a stone on your hand, at the very least, if now not a dagger or a bomb.

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Mar­ quis tried a third time. He had stopped counting or even trying to guess how much time he had left. He was staking everything on getting that loaf of bread. But he could still see the other two—the little one and the one with wrinkles. Their eyes were strained and bulging. 47 DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT As long as they don’t shoot you, you’re still alive, he told himself. It sounded quite lucid and simple. There isn't any loaf o f bread. It's a Brazil nut, the kind we used to steal when we were kids from the gro­ cery store in the building where I was born.

Count! ” “ Quit nagging,” murmured Marquis, as though he had his mind on other things now. “ Don’t worry. Re­ lax. Get some rest. ” After a pause, he went on, “ Well, here I go. Wait here. A jag­ uar is never scared . . ” He watched the scharfiihrer as he finished his round again. As soon as he turned away from the supply car, Marquis moved out, hunched forward, taking long, swift strides. Then he broke into a run. He started counting. He couldn’t see the other two anymore, but they were watching him—small, dark brown, timid eyes lost 39 DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT in a face which seemed to be getting smaller and smaller.

That was what he wanted to happen and that’s why he forgave himself in advance, even though deep inside, he was resentful. Marquis must have realized it, because they knew each other inside out, without having to say a word. So the tall man put up with Marquis’s insolence. Maybe he would have been more straightforward and uncompromising too, twenty years ago. Sometimes, being that way looks like self-confidence, but the two things were quite different. He used to be a lot like Marquis. It had evaporated over the years.

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