Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally

Schindler's ArkThis is my 300th book read, since starting this blog in November 2009.

I wanted to mark my triple century with something of significance and worth, and thought this book met those conditions.

As a Booker prize winner it has literary recognition. As the inspiration for an Oscar winning film it gained a wider appreciation and appeal.

And the book’s topic and themes make it worthwhile representative of many of the books preceding it on my reading list.

Literature, war, Jewish history and the extremes of human nature;  some of the significant characteristics of the other books I’ve read in the past (almost) 7 years.

Schindler's ark 2

I’ve had this book for a long time, firstly in a paperback released as a movie tie-in, with of course the changed title of Schindler’s List. And then I came across the first (Australian) hardcover edition illustrated above. I bought it and gave the other one to my mum.

The book then sat on my bookshelf for a few years unread – until now.

In the beginning Keneally makes it clear that his book is not a history book, but a novel based on historical research and personal interviews with many of the people who appear in it as “characters”. I’m not entirely sure of the distinction he tries to make. It doesn’t seem any different to many of the military histories I’ve read over the past year. Maybe he wanted to distance his book from potential readers’ assumptions about the dryness of history telling.

Now that I’ve committed myself to making this my 300th book – it’s restricting me from starting something else alongside it, just in case I forget myself and finish that “something else” first.

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally

  1. Marleen says:

    I’d be curious how different the book is compared with the movie.

    • Onesimus says:

      I’m a about halfway through the book now and the main difference is structural. A lot of the events in the book have been familiar (because of the movie) but their order in the book varies from the film. It also seems like “characters” in the book have been condensed in the film, so the experiences of two or three people have been portrayed as the experiences of one. That seems to be the case of the Ben Kingsley character Stern.
      It’s been a couple of years since I saw the film, but so far it seems to be more faithful to the spirit of the book than a lot of film adaptations can be.

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