Kaddish Poznan chips the names off gravestones for a living, removing traces of disreputable ancestors for their more respectable kin. His wife Lillian works in insurance, earning money when people live longer than they fear. Set in a tumultuous Buenos Aires on the cusp of a military coup, the couple's own tumultuous relationship is held together ...Read MoreKaddish Poznan chips the names off gravestones for a living, removing traces of disreputable ancestors for their more respectable kin. His wife Lillian works in insurance, earning money when people live longer than they fear. Set in a tumultuous Buenos Aires on the cusp of a military coup, the couple's own tumultuous relationship is held together by their role as parents dedicated to a teenage son. As Argentina's Dirty War unfolds around them, it threatens to overwhelm the infectious, mad energy of their lives. Their sometimes hilarious misadventures are soon replaced by something much darker. A visit to the dreaded "Ministry of Special Cases" is only the start of Englander's stunning vision of a nation in the hold of corruption and torture, a place where absurdity, despair and hope are the end products of a bureaucracy run out of control.Read Less
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This novel captures the complexity of political and social life in Argentina during the 1970s. The plot follows the parents of a young "disappeared" man in the days, weeks and months following his removal from the family home. Troubling questions about ethnicity, religion and assimilation help define this conflicted period in Argentina's past, as well as the differing generational response to the authoritarian political regime. The author delivers a palpable sense of fear, as well as the fierce sense of purpose among the parents of the disappeared.
Four stars only because I felt that the conclusion of the novel was a bit weak - on the other hand, it was, perhaps, the very best ending that could have been written. A book worth reading.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-05-28 Morey's dulcet theatrical tones offset the messy lives of the characters in Englander's first novel about Jewish residents of 1970s Buenos Aires who live in fear of Argentina's vicious military dictatorship. Against the backdrop of the dirty war conducted against leftists and activists, Kaddish Poznan scratches together a living vandalizing the gravestones of Jewish criminals who are embarrassments to their families, even in eternal slumber. Morey struggles manfully with the book's religious terminology and outbursts of Spanish, but his reading is too mannered to render the vibrancy of Englander's prose. His pauses are often too long, and his line readings sometimes lean awkwardly, and puzzlingly, on certain words. Nonetheless, Morey's professional assurance means that, certain flaws notwithstanding, his reading flows along without overly noticeable interruption, accurately conveying the menace lurking behind every word, every sentence of Englander's death-haunted tale. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 19). (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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