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The Ministry of Special Cases

by Nathan Englander

It takes a little effort to get into this book but do persevere - it is both very funny and extremely upsetting. I knew very little about Argentinian politics or 'the disappeared' but I was deeply affected by the story of Kaddish, Lillian and their son Pato. It is a haunting story and there are images in the book which will remain with me for a long time.

Extract

It was always like this for Kaddish Poznan, always something gone wrong...
'It's a body,' Pato said.
'We're in a cemetery. This is where they keep them.' ... Kaddish stamped his foot. 'We're standing on another one right now.'
'This one's different,' Pato said, highlighting it. 'You'll notice, unique in its positioning, this one's above ground.'

Parallels

The Trial by Franz Kafka
For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
 

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