Schindler’s Ark. By Thomas Keneally. Background to the author. Thomas Keneally began writing in 1964 and has published twenty-two novels since. He has had three novels short listed for the Booker Prize and won in 1982 with “Schindler’s Ark”
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“His eyes slewed up Krakusa Street to the scarlet child. They were doing it within half a block of her; they hadn’t waited for her column to turn out of sight into Jozefinska……While the scarlet child stopped in her column and turned to watch, they shot the woman beneath the windowsill in the neck, and one of them, when the boy slid down the wall whimpering, jammed a boot down on his head as if to hold it still and put the barrel against the back of the neck – the recommended SS target – and fired.”
“And through the fogs caused by the pyres, Amon went riding with Majda, both of them calm in the saddle – Leo John took his twelve-year-old boy off to catch tadpoles in the marshy ground in the wood. The flames and the stench did not distract them from their daily lives.”
“…Thus the Commandant at Belsen/ Camp going home for/ the day with fumes of/ human roast clinging/ rebelliously to his hairy/ nostrils will stop/ at the wayside sweet-shop/ and pick up chocolate/ for his tender offspring/ waiting at home for Daddy’s return…”
This extract from Chinua Achebe’s poem “Vultures” has clear links with the extract from the novel although they mention different concentration camps. It can clearly be seen that the two commandants show no remorse for the horrors they are carrying out.
“An extraordinary achievement” – Graham Greene
“Brilliantly detailed, moving, powerful and gripping” – The Times
“Thomas Keneally has done marvellous justice to a marvellous story” – The Sunday Times
“The remarkable book has the immediacy and the almost unbearable detail of a thousand eye witnesses who forgot nothing” – New York Times Book Review
“A magnificent book, powerful, harrowing and beautifully written” – Sunday Express
“Keneally’s portrait of Schindler is inspiring… he keeps clear of the pitfalls of sensationalism, handling the almost unbearable with the tough delicacy it demands” - Listener