He sold his soul to survive Auschwitz.Now he's taking it back!An embittered holocaust survivor cannot speak of what he was forced to do to survive. A young girl in Texas is haunted by a memory of something she could not have lived. Together, they must unlock the gates of memory to find the hope that lies beyond despair.
Alex was seventeen years old when he was deported together with his family to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His mother and younger sister were gassed on arrival. Alex lived on past the end of his world, his memory filled with the death of a people. Unable to speak of what he had done to survive, he is locked in the silent prison of his guilt. Yael, born and raised in Texas, has no connection with Alex or with the world he has lost. And yet her seemingly idyllic life is haunted by a dark memory of something she could not have lived. Her search for the source of the memory will lead her on a quest spanning three continents, and eventually to a new life in Israel. But her true journey will lead into memory itself, as she helps Alex to keep his promises to the dead.
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Writing A Damaged Mirror was a path toward healing - both physical and spiritual. Ovadya's story had been a part of my inner world for so long that it was eating me out from within, begging to be told. Once started, the process took on a momentum of its own, consuming six years of almost full-time engagement.
It is a story of recovery from trauma, of guilt and atonement, of the preservation of memory.... But most of all, it is a story of God-wrestling in the timeless tradition of Ya'akov's wrestling match with an un-named and un-namable entity on the banks of the Yabbok river. We've all crossed that river at one time or another, and most of us have wished we had some name to give to what we faced there. But, like Ya'akov's opponent, the apparition vanishes in the light of reason, leaving us both wounded and blessed...and forever changed.
My own experience forms part of the story, but the main voice is Ovadya's from beginning to end. His was the story that needed to be told, and his voice best conveys what it's like to live with traumatic memory, with its odd juxtapositions of past and future. That sense comes through in the very language that Ovadya uses to describe his experience. He begins to tell and suddenly "was" gives way to "is"; "there" becomes "here".
There is no way out of that loop, other than through it and out the other side. For Ovadya, this meant taking his case to a rabbi to judge, and the story of what happened as a result forms the bulk of the book.
That search for justice and atonement was his path to healing. Telling his story was mine.
Where does grief go when it cannot be told?An embittered holocaust survivor cannot speak of what he was forced to do to survive the horrors of Birkenau. A young girl in Texas is haunted by a memory of something she could not have lived. Their meeting will bring them face to face with themselves, and with the hope that lies on the other side of despair. "We know now where grief untold goes: it goes on to haunt future generations. It gets left behind on the grating; it passes unscathed through temperatures that can melt iron and reduce human bone to ash. And somewhere far removed in space and decades into the future, a stranger wakes out of a sound sleep with an inexplicable nightmare and a despair so deep as to negate life itself."
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Book Description Kasva Press, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110991058410