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The Unloved: From the Diary of Perla S. (Jewish Lives) (1979)

by Arnošt Lustig

Series: Spisy Arnošta Lustiga (Svazek 8)

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44None468,916 (2.88)11
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction Perla S. is a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl who, while interred in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, becomes a prostitute. Capturing Perla's voice through a series of diary entries, Arnost Lustig shows how she maintains her integrity, honesty, and hope amidst lies and horror. This first paperback edition has been extensively revised and expanded by the author.… (more)
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August 1, 1943. Once. A barrette and a comb.
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After our parents turned off the lights, I would ask my sister what story she wanted me to tell her.

And when she asked what there was to choose from, I answered that I would take a look and tell her right away.

I would reach under my pillow and take out a golden key. No one was supposed to know about this. The chest to which the gold key belonged was tiny. It had two shelves. Books of all sizes were inside. But none of them had been printed yet. Only after I rubbed the tips of my fingers over their bindings did their titles appear.
Once, in a discussion, Mr. L. conceded that the nature of writing encompasses something for which no substitute has yet been found and apparently never will be. But it is not only what you write but also when you write it. I can sense exactly when my voice is "authentic". I can't tell what it consists of, but I can tell when it is that way. I can feel it.
I thought that the Luftwaffe officer lied in order to make his words ring more true that the truth.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The 1996 revised edition is also significantly expanded.
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Winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction Perla S. is a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl who, while interred in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, becomes a prostitute. Capturing Perla's voice through a series of diary entries, Arnost Lustig shows how she maintains her integrity, honesty, and hope amidst lies and horror. This first paperback edition has been extensively revised and expanded by the author.

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