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Reviews and Articles

Rochelle Furstenberg – Grappling with Evil

Don DeLillo, Author of White Noise:

This is a strong, brave and ever-shifting book – essays that trace the powerful narratives of family, history, and memory, and stories that swirl mysteriously out of history and into dazzling floods of wonder.

Aharon Appelfeld:

The book before us, which gathers together fiction, poetry and essays, is a work of art of the highest quality. The theme ranging across the entire volume is the indelible mark left by the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Michal Govrin was born in Israel, but her mother’s family, including her first husband and their son, were murdered in the Holocaust. Surviving, she transmitted to her daughter not only the horror of the times, but also the strength and courage needed in saving lives during the war and in its aftermath.

Govrin raises an image of a world utterly different from the one we know. This work joins the few serious books that try through artistic means to face the unspeakable.

Hayden White, author of The Fiction of Narratives: Essays on History, Literature and Theory, 1957 – 2007:

Michal Govrin’s work always takes us to the edge of the real where the effects of age, experience, and history erode confidence in our ordinary powers of perception. In these early pieces, she has already discovered the paths that lead beyond the sensible. Govrin’s work is deeply metaphysical and at the same time anti-foundationalist. It takes courage and humility to go where she has been and generosity of spirit to return with such gifts for us.

David Shapiro, author of: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2006:

Govrin is a learnt, passionate author. Her writing is dominated by impossible choices: to be bound to ancient customs, to make love to the enemy, to be part of the larger community, to reach inside and outside time.

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Hold On to the Sun

Edited by Judith Miller, Published by The Feminist Press, NY, 2010

A richly varied collection of short stories, legends, a novella, and essays. In this portrait of the artist as a young woman, Michal Govrin offers a kaleidoscope of perspectives. Peopled by characters mysterious and real, each story is a search for meaning in a post-Shoah world. Reminiscent of W.G. Sebald, the characters – irrationally and with great humanity – find reasons to hope in a world that offers few. The essays describe Govrin’s visits to Poland as a young woman, where her mother survived a death camp, but lost her first husband and her eight-year-old son, Govrin’s half-brother. Govrin’s haunting stories capture the depths of denial and the exuberance of youth: through a succession of cracks in reality, naked being is exposed.  

Stories from the book:

A lecture at the Library of Congress