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Blooms of Darkness

by Aharon Appelfeld

In the occupied Ukraine a mother puts her 11 year old son into a brothel to hide him from Nazi soldiers, many of whom frequent the whorehouse. Mariana, a prostitute, hides Hugo in a closet in her room, but when the Russians advance, it is his turn to support her. Ashamed of her life and fearful of reprisals, Mariana turns to God and the the adoring adolescent for consolation. A story which plumbs the pain, loss and cruelty of the Holocaust.

Extract

Hugo wakes up, apparently because of the commotion taking place in Mariana's room. Mariana is shouting at the top of her lungs, and a man is threatening, 'I'll kill you if you don't shut up. I'll kill you. Don't forget that I'm an officer. With an officer, you don't argue. You do what he orders you to do.' That threat doesn't silence her, either.

In the midst of it all, a shot is heard. The sound pierces the house and the closet.

Parallels

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
 

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