Life With A Star, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)




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This is an unusual Holocaust novel, written by a Czech Jew who survived by faking his own death in 1942 and living in hiding for the rest of the war. It doesn't mention the words Jews, Nazi or Germans, but adopts an other-worldly anonymous atmosphere that gets the message of oppression across very effectively (a literary device also employed by Arthur Koestler in Darkness at Noon and Arrival and Departure). The central character Josef Roubicek's life becomes more and more limited as restrictions on Jews' work, life, and movement become ever stricter, contrasted with the lives of plenty and (relative) luxury being enjoyed by the non-Jewish population. Roubicek survives when around him fellow Jews are being rounded up and sent away to the "fortress town" or transported to the East. This is a depressing and sombre novel, not only because of the intrinsic subject matter, but also because of the writing style, including Roubicek's internal dilemma about whether to bother continuing the struggle to survive or rather to surrender himself to his fate, and the ending is rather ambiguous - though one assumes Roubicek will survive in the same way as did the real author, as this has been hinted at earlier in conversations with the only named non-Jewish character, Josef Materna.