MAIL TO THE PROMISED LAND by Anna Seghers
“…as if the exchange of letters could outwit even death itself.”
The literary apotheosis of poignancy.
Distilled into as well as spread from within this whole book (so far) with its endless life, its endless death as cure or curing. The story of a Jewish family decimated by a pogrom before the First World War, their later journeys of life to live, their interactions, their loves and antipathies, their arrival in Paris, the synagogue they then attended and its characteristics, a boy’s bar mitzvah, the First World War itself, how they are scarred, how they got married, how old men, in turn, yearned to travel to the hot Land as Promised by History. And how letters (mail as well as the letters of the words used) can prolong hope and existence, through the Hitler years, with letters pre-written en masse and later sent in a serial real-time way of perseverance so as to crystallise life as a cryology, especially in that hot eastern land. Above all the eyes opened by words as well as cured by surgeons. And a tally of men’s beards all growing as a single cluster…
I shall try to trick into perpetuation my own life by the ever-present pre-written — but as yet unmailed — intention to at least try and wed this story to ‘Five Letters From An Eastern Empire’ by Alasdair Gray as reviewed by me HERE during a now seemingly ‘long ago’ real-time.
“His son’s renown had become inconceivable to his father, not as if it were already gone but as if it hadn’t yet begun.”
Full context of this review here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/the-dead-girls-class-trip-selected-stories-by-anna-seghers/