Autobiographies of an Angel A Novel Gabor Schein, Ottilie Mulzet

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
12 Jul 2022
Yale University Press
224 pages: 197 x 127mm
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An unflinching narrative of family history in Hungary’s Jewish community and the nation’s deep complicity in the Holocaust

Born in 1723 in a small German town, Johann Klarfeld is thirteen when his father dies. He is taken in by a kind Italian painter to live with him and his daughter in The Hague. But the daughter, beautiful and blind, has a secret.
Two centuries later, Berta Jósza is born during World War II in a village in northern Hungary. The daughter of a police officer, Berta watches chaos unfold through her father’s eyes, from the plundering of the possessions of murdered Jews to the carnage of the 1956 Revolution. When she happens upon an enigmatic autobiography in a secondhand bookshop, she can’t shake the sense that she somehow knows the author.
Lyrical and haunting, told in the tradition of W. G. Sebald, this is an unforgettable split-century story about the spirit of history and the individual fates that make up the whole, the entwinements of the past, and their unshakable hold on the present.

Gábor Schein is a highly acclaimed author of poetry and fiction; he has translated contemporary and classical German and English poets. Ottilie Mulzet has translated the work of László Krasznahorkai, Szilárd Borbély, and László Földényi, among others.