- 49,00 kr
Only recently available for the first time in English, Panorama is the newly rediscovered first novel of H. G. Adler, a modernist master whose work has been compared to that of Kafka, Joyce, and Solzhenitsyn. A brilliant epic told in ten distinct vignettes, Panorama is a portrait of a place and people soon to be destroyed, as seen through the eyes of the young Josef Kramer. It moves from the pastoral World War I–era Bohemia of Josef’s youth, to a German boarding school full of creeping prejudice, through an infamous extermination camp, and finally to Josef’s self-imposed exile abroad, achieving veracity and power through a stream-of-consciousness style reminiscent of our greatest modern masters. The author of six novels as well as the monumental account of his experiences in a Nazi labor camp, Theresienstadt 1941–1945, H. G. Adler is an essential author with unique historical importance. Panorama is lasting evidence of both the torment of his life and the triumph of his gifts.
The first English-language translation of an opus by Adler (The Journey), Czech writer and Holocaust survivor, opens with the young Josef Kramer, at a "panorama," a rotating display of pictures of exotic places. The novel's structure imitates that of the panorama, each a snapshot of an epoch in Josef's life, from a neurotic childhood to a year in the countryside, then a period in a hellish boarding school. The most biting and amusing sections are Josef as a tutor in a wealthy and dysfunctional family and working at a frenetic "cultural center." Each episode ends with Josef drifting to sleep, trying to create internal order from chaos. War comes and two sections deal with Josef as a forced laborer and his time in concentration camps and his reflecting on his life from self-imposed exile in Britain. Adler's writing is stream-of-consciousness, heavily philosophical, and the style changes as Josef matures. Adler's portrayal of daily life and a young man's existential maturation in the region of Bohemia between the wars is full of satirical and loving detail that turns grim in the Holocaust sections. But the long, clause-heavy sentences feel clunky in translation and make this book more fascinating as a treasure of cultural and literary history than as a purely narrative read.