In a Dark Wood
HarperCollins, 2010 (2010)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
arcel Möring, a Dutch novelist has written, for me, a pretty perplexing story. A Jewish man, who has managed to stay alive during World War II by living in a hole in the ground for three years (by itself a bit of a stretch), comes out afterwards to find that his parents and brother have been killed. In pain and suffering, Jacob vents his anger on his wife, his friends, his town, but not his daughters. A part of the book has a kind of dream sequence, where Jacob can see all but is not himself seen. The end of the book is more gratifying and helps us to see that Jacob has reached some kind of understanding of his painful situation.
he book actively demonstrates that losses such as Jacob has had can never be overcome or forgotten. The very idea of achieving a successful life under such circumstances is questionable if not impossible. Another idea worthy of exploring comes to fruition at the end, when what it means to be a Jewish survivor of the war - and how a Jew can live or even just keep going in a world recently so hostile - crystallizes. Trying to slog through these situations would put anyone
in a dark wood
, and perhaps this is the best explanation of how the author has chosen to tell the story. We finally do come to understand that '
the crooked path is often the only way to the end.
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