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Books Like The Reader by Bernhard Schlink | Suggested Reading

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The philosopher Theodor Adorno famously observed in his essay "Cultural Criticism and Society" that "to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric", and Michael Wyschogrod later expanded this comment, explaining: I firmly believe that art is not appropriate to the holocaust. Art takes the sting out of suffering. . . . It is therefore forbidden to make fiction out of the holocaust. Any attempt transform the holocaust into art demeans the holocaust and must result in poor art.

While for the likes of Adorno and Wyschogrod, transforming the event into art is a trivializing attempt to contain it, for many survivors and indeed for subsequent generations, writing about the Holocaust has become a way of dealing with feelings of bewilderment, despair, nihilism, and guilt.

Literally thousands of responses have been published since the end of the Second World War, and any selection is bound to be a subjective one. Some of the...

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