Aharon Appelfeld’s “The Age of Wonders”

Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

Today we read an excerpt from Aharon Appelfeld’s novel, The Age of Wonders, published in Israel in 1978 and translated by Dalya Bilu in 1981.

A holocaust survivor himself, this novel is remarkable in that it skips over the war, and does not even use the word holocaust, as it chronicles the dissolution of an assimilated Austrian family, in a petit-bourgeois Jewish world, and the anti-semitism leading up to the war.

Told in two parts, the first part ends with a scene in the town’s synagogue, where all the Jews have been requested to assemble. The last sentence of the section is “By the next day we were on the cattle train hurtling south.” Book Two opens with the line, “Many years later, when everything was over.” In the interim, the narrator has somehow escaped to Palestine.

Previous Episodes on Aharon Appelfeld:
Ticho Café interview
The Story of a Life

Aharon Appelfeld. The Age of Wonders. Translated by Dalya Bilu. Boston: David R. Godine, 1981

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