The immortal Bartfuss

by Aron Appelfeld

Hardcover, 1988




New York : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, c1988.


Set in contemporary Israel, The Immortal Bartfuss is perhaps the most profound and powerful portrait of a Holocaust survivor ever drawn. Using the techniques of omission and indirection perfected in such masterpieces as Badenheim 1939 and To the Land of the Cattails, Appelfeld tells the story of Bartfuss, enigmatically "the immortal" because of his experience in the camps. Now locked in a hopeless marriage, Bartfuss struggles to suppress the emotions and recollections he fears and despises, while trying to keep alive the poise, dignity, and compassion essential to a human being. The Immortal Bartfuss is an overwhelming and unforgettable study of a man reduced to his tragic limits.

User reviews

LibraryThing member SqueakyChu
This was an interesting story, albeit not the kind I like that much. It takes place in Jaffa, Israel, after the Holocaust, in which a survivor from Italy lives in an estranged relationship with his wife and two daughters, both grown--one married and the other single and mentally challenged. This
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man spends his days alone, watching other people, watching the sea, drinking coffee in cafes, and smoking cigarettes. His interactions with others are rare, uncomfortable, and suffused with angst. How much of this is a result of his wartime experiences and how much his own personality is not exactly clear.

I'm glad the story was short as I found it difficult to read because there reallly was not much personal interaction throughout--only a sense of loneliness and alienation.
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