A poignant story of wartime love, relationships and racial barriers written by an Auschwitz survivor.
On the outskirts of Terez-n, the concentration camp created by the Nazis as a staging post for the transport of Jews to Poland, a seventeen-year-old boy encounters Vili Feld, a pre-war acquaintance. It is September 1944; the war is going badly for the Germans, and they are in a hurry to complete their 'final solution'. Compromises are being made on all sides, conditions are unspeakable, rumours are rife, but nothing definite is known of the Nazis' intentions. Or perhaps what is known is deliberately not being believed. Having enlisted the young narrator to help him smuggle contraband into the camp, Vili invites the lad to the attic room he occupies with his eighteen-year-old companion, Leah. She, having been deported from Holland and lost her family, like most others in the camp, has given up living in accordance with her beliefs. Or, at the very least, she finds herself questioning them obsessively. The attraction - both erotic and spiritual - between her and the narrator is instant and overwhelming. Thus begins a brief but intense entanglement against the backdrop of inevitable transport to the East, where an unknown future awaits. In WAITING FOR LEAH, Arnost Lustig memorably evokes a trio of young people and the fraught web of their relationships in a moving narrative of impossible moral choices made in the face of almost certain death.
“Praise for Lovely Green Eyes: 'Lovely Green Eyes could be described in the words of Mr Kertesz's Nobel citation which raised 'writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history'...A work of extraordinary delicacy'”
“Praise for Lovely Green Eyes: 'Among other things, the novel demonstrates that it is possible to write about the most highly charged subjects in such a way as to fulfil the goal of all art: to illuminate what it means to be a human being'”
Times Literary Supplement
“In my view, Lustig is the finest living Czech author and his work cries out for the Nobel Prize”
John Murray, Literary Review
“Praise for Lovely Green Eyes: 'IfI were a schoolteacher, I would teach this vivid picture of human evil as moral philosophy'”