Saturday, August 8, 2015

I Truly Lament

Mathias Freese shares a collection of stories in his book, I Truly Lament. The stories revolve around the Holocaust and share points of view with guards, golems, survivors, and victims. This collection is not for the faint of heart. The stories aren't all blunt, they aren't all gruesome. But then again, they are all blunt and gruesome; it was the Holocaust.

Twenty-seven stories make up this heart and mind wrenching collection. Though they each have their own critical factor and voice, Snow Globe I made my mouth drop open in disbelief and horror. A man dreams of his time in the concentration camps and it's snowing. To me, snow is a magical thing. It casts everything in beauty and innocence, giving it a chance to reappear as something better. Snow is used for making angels and ice cream, twirling about trying to catch a single flake on your tongue. But in this story, Freese uses snow as a torture device. As the man listens to the rules, snow accumulates around him and the other camp members. Soon he's drowning in it. Every reader will find a story that horrifies them, opens their eyes, or reminds them. This story was exactly that for me. Freese took something beautiful and turned it into a tortured nightmare. It was the Holocaust.

There was a bit of confusion in this collection for me. Since it is a fiction collection, I wasn't too sure on whether Max Weber was real or a stand-in for all people who think that the Holocaust was a hoax or exaggerated. With a bit of research, I believe I found the referenced man. Here's a little bit about his beliefs and work on Wikipedia.  Though, there is also Mark Weber, in which the name Max could have been substituted for the fictional representation. He's a leader of a Holocaust Denial Group as stated in this Wikipedia article. Either way, I'm sure survivors of the Holocaust who do know about these men are just as hurt as Freese makes them out to be.

Overall, the collection is nicely put together. I thought the order of each story made sense as a whole. It begins with a golem and the acceptance that help is far off. Each story adds to that belief with the struggle for food, for the will to live, and the loss of a loved one. Then the collection ends with a golem who struggles with his own existence and need. I've been to the Holocaust museum in St. Louis and I've studied it in school. But I've never gotten the chance to talk to anyone about it. And though, I still haven't, I Truly Lament has let me peek into the mind set of victims and survivors. A very worthy collection.

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

No comments:

Post a Comment