Day After Night (Anita Diamant)


This book unleashed a storm of indifference and fierce consensus at Try Books!

It was the story of four Jewish women in a British detention camp in Palestine after the end of WWII, and people found that they couldn’t remember which was which.  In fact, they said that almost anyone else would have been more interesting than Zorah, the embittered Pole; Leonie the chic Parisienne; Tedi, the tall blonde from Holland and Shayndel the ex-partisan.  We would have been more interested to learn about Esther, the Polish woman pretending to be a Jew so she could continue to take care of her murdered employer’s little boy; Bryce, the conflicted camp commander; Tirzah, who seemed to be preparing for the role of a (Biblical) Esther or Judith, and then didn’t do anything…Also and equally either our heroines’ back story or what happened to them next would have been more interesting.

As it was, they sat around on their fannies eating until the Palmach rescued them and that was about it.  Maybe there should have been some recipes included?  The errors in and and about Hebrew weren’t really interesting, just stupid.  It had the insipid taste of a Young Adult book–there was nothing there that a YA would have found hard to understand, in spite of Leonie’s backstory in a wartime brothel.  And that seemed bizarre to me–her family is taken and the local tobacconist’s wife just happens to have a brothel waiting to receive her?  With three ‘nieces’ already?  That seems a bit much even for France.

The plain plodding uninspired unflavoured exposition of the story deprived it of nearly all savour.  We did wonder why she had bothered, since Primi Levi had already done the same kind subjects–displaced and liberated Jews beginning to be alive and wondering what was going to happen to them–infinitely better.

But I don’t think it was a case of offensive exploitation of the Holocaust, and there was some mild enlightenment on the early days of the Jewish State on offer.  Maybe some recipes would have made it more interesting?  Perhaps not…

So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

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