I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub
Published by Random House on April 3, 2014
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‘I often dreamed about the moment of the fall, a silence that lasted a second, possibly two, a room full of sixty people and no one making a sound, as if everyone were waiting for my classmate to cry out ... but he lay on the ground with his eyes closed’
A schoolboy prank goes horribly wrong, and a thirteen-year-old boy is left injured. Years later, one of the classmates relives the episode as he tries to come to terms with his demons.
Diary of the Fall is the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer’s, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget.
Beautiful and brave, Michel Laub’s novel asks the most basic – and yet most complex – questions about history and identity, exploring what stories we choose to tell about ourselves and how we become the people we are.
Michel Laub's next book, A Poison Apple, will be published on 6th July 2017.
Diary of a Fall is a moving tale about three generations of men told from the perspective of a thirteen year old boy. This short novel diaries the lives of three men – a grandfather, a father and a son – and how their lives are interwoven, how the consequences of past actions, of (perhaps) past generations can affect the current generation. How the weight of family tradition and expectation (here being a Jew) can become too much.
Diary of a Fall beautifully illustrates the emphasise that is placed on history as a way of identity and questions whether we should allow ourselves to be identified in this way? The fall in this novel represents a change, but how much of this change is our responsibility and attitude to the fall compared with just the fall?
How much of the Diary of a Fall can we take to be true? How much of it is a story in order to get through life? To cover up past mistakes? To build a safe future? Dairy of a Fall shows how each generation of the same family have used different methods as coping mechanisms to hide from the truth. How successful each method is remains to be seen but by embracing past mistakes, the future could become less burdensome…
Diary of a Fall is a moving tale that will make you wonder about your family history and the affects that history has on you.