How can you write about Holocaust, slavery, wars? And can you?


Hey guys. The last week has been super busy as the uni started on Monday and I've been trying to combine studying and working at the same time. So my apology for not adding anythig for such a long time! However, as I was getting ready for the beginning of uni I did a lot of reading and today I would like to share some books I have recently read and which are (in my opinion) definitely worth of your attention!

As I already mentioned in my previous article, this year I'm studying a course called American Innovation (discussing American literature in 19th and 20th century) and then Art and Atrocity (dealing with the process of facing trauma and the way of putting it on a paper). And so I have to admit that this year is definitely not going to be funny, but rather gloomy as I am about to read about the oppression of black people in America, and the atrocity of Holocaust and another devastating events in human history. Here are some of the books which made me to stop for a second and realize how lucky I am to be alive, to have my family, to go to Uni. You think that this is a cliché. Well, read these books and you will agree with me:

The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes - a collection of short stories reflects the struggle of black people defending their rights in the white America of the 1920s and '30s. Hughes offers to his readers different types of narrators and forms of a storytelling. Yet what connects them all is Hughes' powerful voice urging America to finally become a country of freedom and happiness for every single man, exactly as it states in the Declaration of Independence.

Fragments by Binjamin Wilkomirski - the narrator recalls his painful memories of a childhood from 1939 to 1948. Describing his years in a concentration camp, Wilkomirski puts together fragments of his memory in attempt to set himself free. I remember I was not amble to breath while reading certain parts of this book. (Note - as I tried to find more information about the author, I came across certain articles questioning the verity and reliability of the text. Some of them argue that Wilkomirski simply fabricated his childhood memories. I will let everyone to make their own judgment about this claim.)

Maus by Art Spiegelman - Spiegelman produces a grafic novel depicting an interview with his father, a Jew and survivor of Holocaust. The author uses mice and cats as symbols of Jews and Nazis, which only enhances the haunting tragedy of the situation back in 1940's. Some people suggest that it is unethical to depict Holocaust in the form of a grafic novel (cartoon), however, I believe that you will not agree with them once you read Maus.

Kaddish for an Unborn Child by Imre Kertész - the last book about Holocaust I want to mention to you (at least today). The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature deals with the trauma caused by the concentration camp Auschwitz and the feeling of sin and guilt after surviving its inhuman conditions. It is not easy to read as it has no solid form but it rather depicts the stream of author's consciousness. Kertész writes in long sentences and jumps from one topic to another, seemingly not connected at all. It took me more than one reading to at least partially grasp the concept. And I believe that it is going to take me another three to four readings to understand it. All of it.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them? Is it possible to write about themes like slavery or Holocaust?
I believe that it is possible to write about those themes. Because the books above are a proof of that.