In World War II Germany,
andunderground compound houses scribes who answer letters written to
prisoners in an effort to hide the reality of the concentration camps
and provide supernatural protection for Germany's Final Solution.
Translators for each language crank out innocent, pleasant
letters. Gerhardt Lodenstein and Elie Schaten run the compound of
scribes and yet, secretly, they work for the resistance. One
day a letter arrives from Martin Heidegger's optometrist, Asher
Englehardt, now a prisoner in Auschwitz. One letter changes the
whole routine of the compound and opens a door and sets in motion
events that threaten the entire compound as the scribes struggle to
find the exact words to respond to Heidegger.
Imaginative and poetic, Thaisa
Frank presents a unique entry into visualizing Nazi Germany.
Historical fiction purists should be forewarned that HEIDEGGER'S
GLASSES is a work of historical fantasy rather than a novel full of
historical detail. In one sense, HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES
reads more like Kafka than a work of historical fiction, albeit with
quite a different world view. Here, the absurd situation leads
elsewhere, and resistance is not futile. HEIDEGGER'S
GLASSES is recommended for readers of historical fiction and fantasy
eager for a haunting, poetic and even symbolic entryway into Holocaust
fiction. HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES will be well received by
readers with an intellectual and literary curiosity to revisit and
re-examine a book and its presentation long after the last page.
Thaisa Frank gives readers a richness that withstands subsequent
readings and discussion. As such, HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES is
recommended as a book club choice for active groups who enjoy delving
into deeper and deeper aspects of a novel.
As a reader who enjoys
historical fiction and fantasy, Holocaust fiction and literary
criticism, HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES left me wanting more historical and
philosophical detail. I chose HEIDEGGER'S GLASSES as a means of
joining my studies of Holocaust fiction with my studies of Heidegger's
philosophy. I did not particularly find more details of
Heidegger's anti-semitism or its possible connection to his philosophy
either within a historical or an imaginative perspective.
A number rating cannot
possibly do justice to Thaisa Frank's work. HEIDEGGER'S
GLASSES is an important work within the evolving canon of Holocaust
fiction and a book this reader might even consider worthy of literary
awards for the style of prose and the imaginative content and
form. Nevertheless, more historical and particularly
philosophical detail would have made this book truly outstanding beyond
the marketing cycle, while those very same additions might make the
book less enjoyable for other readers.
Phoenix Books (May 25, 2010)