> Skip to content

Jakov Lind’s Soul of Wood brought its author immediate fame when it was published in Germany in 1962, earning him a reputation as one of the most boldly imaginative postwar German writers. In the title novella and six stories here, Lind deals masterfully with a world of horror through fantasy, paradox, and sardonic distortion and brings to life the agonies of twentieth-century Europe.

In “Soul of Wood,” Anton Barth, a paralyzed young Jew, is smuggled to safety as his parents are shipped off to their deaths. Then, however, we discover that Barth’s purported protector, the wooden-legged war invalid Wohlbrecht–who is the deeply unreliable, self-pitying, half-mad narrator of the story–has simply abandoned the helpless boy in a forest cabin. Wohlbrecht returns to Vienna, where he is soon busy assisting a psychiatrist in administering lethal injections to his patients. But as Germany collapses before the Russian offensive, Wohlbrecht rushes back to the woods in the frenzied hope that he will somehow be able to reclaim “his” Jew, and so preserve himself from retribution. Horrifying and humorous by turns, Lind’s stories alternate scenes of pure savagery and madcap hilarity, displaying a grim inventiveness unmatched in modern literature.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    December 15, 2009

    NY Review Books

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au


No Middle Name
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
Men Without Women
Paris For One And Other Stories
Six Bedrooms
The Pier Falls
The Shore
Uncommon Type
The Christmas Stocking and Other Stories
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
Homesick For Another World
The Start of Something
Snowdrift and Other Stories (includes three new recently discovered short stories)
The Tsar of Love and Techno
A Snow Garden and Other Stories
Make Something Up
Collected Stories
First Love, Last Rites
The Lemon Table