Daniel Mendelsohn a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker, is the author of the international bestseller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. He teaches at Bard College.
As a boy in the 1960s, Mendelsohn could make elderly relatives cry just by entering the room, so much did he resemble his great-uncle Shmiel J?ger, who had been "killed by the Nazis." This short phrase was all Mendelsohn knew of his maternal grandfather Abraham's brother, who had remained with his wife and four daughters in the Ukrainian shtetl of Bolechow after Abraham left for America. Long obsessed with family history, Mendelsohn (The Elusive Embrace) embarked in 2001 on a series of journeys to learn exactly what had happened to Shmiel and his family. The result is a rich, ruminative "mythic narrative... about closeness and distance, intimacy and violence, love and death." Mendelsohn uses these words to describe the biblical story of Cain and Abel, for one of the book's most striking elements is the author's recounting of the book of Genesis in parallel with his own story, highlighting eternal themes of origins and family, temptation and exile, brotherly betrayal, creation and annihilation. In Ukraine, Australia, Israel and Scandinavia, Mendelsohn locates a handful of extraordinary, aged Bolechow survivors. Especially poignant is his relationship with novelist Louis Begley's 90-year-old mother, from a town near the shtetl, an irascible, scene-stealing woman who eagerly follows Mendelsohn's remarkable effort to retrieve her lost world. B&w photos, maps. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Critic/journalist Mendelsohn relates his search for evidence of the six relatives who perished in the Holocaust and have haunted his family ever since. "Huge," insists the publicist. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"The Lost is the most gripping, the most amazing true
story I have read in years. . . . Enthralling. . . . An immensely
moving and beautifully written book."--Charles Simic, The New York
Review of Books
"A gripping detective story, a stirring epic, a tale of ghosts and dark marvels, a thrilling display of scholarship, a meditation on the unfathomable mystery of good and evil, a testimony to the enduring power of the ancient archetypes that haunt one Jewish family and the greater human family, The Lost is as complex and rich with meaning and story as the past it seeks to illuminate. A beautiful book, beautifully written."--Michael Chabon
"A masterpiece. . . . Daniel Mendelsohn is an astonishing writer. . . . This book for better or worse makes the Holocaust new again."--The Jerusalem Post
"A stunning memoir. . . . Beautiful and powerfully moving. . . . As suspenseful as a detective thriller, and as difficult to put down. . . . . What makes The Lost so extraordinary is how loving it is."--Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine
"An excellent memoir. . . . Essentially a detective story, The Lost winds up describing far more than Mendelsohn's relatives: It brings to life the struggle of an entire generation."--People (four stars)
"Epic and personal, meditative and suspenseful, tragic and at times hilarious, The Lost is a wonderful book."--Jonathan Safran Foer
"Moving. . . . Proves that there are limitless ways of looking at that most inexplicable of human moments."--Entertainment Weekly
"The Lost is a sensitively written book that constantly asks itself the most difficult questions about history and memory."--BookForum
"A stirring detective work, The Lost is ... deepened by reflections on the inescapable part that chance plays in history."--J. M. Coetzee
"Mendelsohn, a classicist, creates a stunning Odyssey here, an epic world-wandering."--Garry Wills