Combining the authenticity of reportage with the emotional intensity of an extraordinary imagination, The Inventory is a profoundly unsettling account of the effects of Nazi paranoia upon every segment of German society. Writing with piercing clarity and searing irony, Gila Lustiger weaves together the tales of ordinary people swept up in a society where brutal oppression and extermination are everyday events.
Amid the routine of daily lifewith its flirtations and quarrels, longings and disappointmentsthe mechanism of persecution spares no one: A renowned opera singer is savagely beaten for suspicion of homosexuality; a mother writes to the Ghetto Administration for a good deal on penknives confiscated from Jewish deportees; a student is tortured by the Gestapo for a vague association with the Young Socialist Workers; a husband files for divorce when his wife shops at a Jewish-owned store. Intersecting stories of common citizens, both sinned against and sinning, reveal uncanny, entwined relationships in a nation where no one remains untouched by suspicion and fear, where respectable housewives become informants and saviors, and children become protectors and abusers.
A masterly display of bravura virtuosity, The Inventory is the final, terrible account of how allold and young, affluent and destitute, the pampered and neglectedwere transformed by oppression and tyranny. Proclaimed a classic in Germany, this unforgettable novel establishes Gila Lustiger as one of contemporary literature’s most important voices.
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