Synopses & Reviews
Garden, Ashes is the remarkable account of Andi Scham's childhood during World War II, as his Jewish family traverses Eastern Europe to escape persecution. As the family moves from house to house, the novel focuses on Andi's relationship with his father; he recounts the endless hours his father poured into the creation of his all-inclusive third edition of the Bus, Ship, Rail, and Air Travel Guide, to the bizarre sermons he delivered to his befuddled family, to his eventual disappearance and assumed death at Auschwitz.
Despite the apocalyptic events fueling this family's story, Kis's writing emphasizes the specific details of life during this period, constructing a personal account of a future artist growing up under the shadow of the Nazis and in a world capable of containing a person as unique as his father.
Garden, Asheswill influence the most current trends in the art of the literary avant-garde--so much so that it may even shape the course of the novel.In Kis's case . . . it is the consistent quality of the local prose that counts. It is how, sentence by sentence, the song is built, and immeasurable meanings meant. It is the rich regalia of his rhetoric that leads us to acknowledge his authority. On his page, trappings are not trappings, but sovereignty itself.
"Let us not mince words here: Danilo Kis's Garden, Ashes is an unmitigated masterpiece, surely not just one of the best books about the Holocaust, but one of the greatest books of the past century."--Aleksandar Hemon, from the introduction
About the Author
Danilo Kis was one of Serbia's most influential writers and the author of several novels and short-story collections, including A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, The Encyclopedia of the Dead, and Hourglass. In 1980 Kis was awarded the Grand Aigle d'Or from the city of Nice. He died in 1989 at the age of 54.Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for several months. While there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a "Genius Grant" from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.William J. Hannaher is a translator of Serbian literature.