I’m sure if it had been PR’ed as a ‘Jewish Holocaust’ story many would not have bothered with it [I have to admit, myself included] which would have been a huge shame. I had, to be honest, assumed from the opening that the story was going to be more of a metaphysical, magic realist narrative. Whilst I am rather disappointed it wasn’t I am glad I continued with it after the first section.
Time is a blind guide.
Bog-boy, I surfaced into the miry streets of the drowned city. For over a thousand years, only fish wandered Biskupin’s wooden sidewalks. Houses, built to face the sun, were flooded by the silty gloom of the Gasawka River. Gardens grew luxurious in subaqueous silence; lilies, rushes, stinkweed.
I: The Drowned City [excerpt]
The language is just scrumptious, like only a poet could construct? Lots of interesting historical facts; not just about ‘history’/WWII, but also about poetry/music/archaeology, etc.
I haven’t seen the 2007 movie based on the book, which I think I’ll give a miss, as sure to be ‘the story’, which whilst interesting is not the point of interest at all.
Noises never heard before, torn from my father’s mouth. Then silence. My mother had been sewing a button on my shirt. She kept her buttons in a chipped saucer. I heard the rim of the saucer in circles on the floor. I heard the spray of buttons, little white teeth.
Strangely enough having now read a couple of Anne Michaels’ poems, I find they don’t have the same weight. So for any that argue there is no difference between prose poetry and poetic prose, I’m afraid you are just plain wrong. Perhaps the difference is one of ‘voice’? That strange inflection that poets use when they read their works, which puts poetry closer to song then reportage. Perhaps it is a matter of expectation? You don’t expect prose to be lyrical, so rejoice when it is, but you do expect poetry to be lyrical so despair when it isn’t?
Perhaps only poets and scientists/reporters can tell good tales? The lyrical and the ‘straight’.