Wednesday, September 11, 2013

the last book I ever read (Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer, excerpt three)

from The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth:

After the accident, as her foster parents called it, Uncle Daniel informed the Jewish Welfare Board that his wife’s ill health made it impossible for them to continue to have Amy in their home. The foster child moved on to another family—and then another. She told whoever asked that she had been evacuated from Holland with a group of Jewish schoolchildren the week before the Nazis invaded. Sometimes she did not even say that the schoolchildren were Jewish, an omission for which she was mildly rebuked by the Jewish families who had accepted responsibility for her and were troubled by her lying. But she could not bear them all laying their helpful hands upon her shoulders because of Auschwitz and Belsen. If she was going to be thought exceptional, it would not be because of Auschwitz and Belsen but because of what she had made of herself since.

They were kind and thoughtful people, and they tried to get her to understand that she was not in danger in England. “You needn’t feel frightened or threatened in any way,” they assured her. “Or ashamed of anything.” “I’m not ashamed. That’s the point.” “Well, that isn’t always the point when young people try to hide their Jewish origins.” “Maybe it isn’t with others,” she told them, “but it is with me.”

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