In the Land of Armadillos: Stories
A radiant debut collection of linked stories from a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, set in a German-occupied town in Poland, where mythic tales of Jewish folklore meet the real-life monsters of the Nazi invasion.1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties... show more
A radiant debut collection of linked stories from a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, set in a German-occupied town in Poland, where mythic tales of Jewish folklore meet the real-life monsters of the Nazi invasion.1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland’s towns and cities of their Jewish populations. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities. Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town: we meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son’s favorite picture book, even as he helps exterminate the artist’s friends and family; a Messiah who appears in a little boy’s bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town’s most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: the enigmatic and silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, Commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect “his” Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker and his family, struggling to survive. Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, In the Land of Armadillos is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.
Publish date: 2016-02-02
Pages no: 304
Edition language: English
This collection of interconnected short stories holds considerable promise: magic realism meets WWII-era occupied Poland. I loved the architecture, how the stories looped around unexpectedly and became one tangled mess. The best stories were superb, layered tales of beauty and astonishment. These ar...
”...the world as it used to be, a world run by the seasons, not by soldiers with machine guns. With harvest dances and girls who wore flirty, flouncy skirts, singing as they spun flax in their parents’ parlors. When neighbors helped one another instead of running to tell tales, where people made an ...