Books: Call It Sleep THE IMMORTAL BARTFUSS

Aharon Appelfeld Translated by Jeffrey M. Green Weidenfeld & Nicolson 137 pages; $15.95

Like water running over stone, the novels of Aharon Appelfeld slowly make a deep impression. Badenheim 1939 (1980), The Age of Wonders (1982), To the Land of the Cattails (1986) are imperceptibly abrasive, patient and stubborn in their scourings. Appelfeld's recurring subject is daily life just before and after Hitler's war against the Jews. The central crimes of the period need no enhancement, having been passed directly into the stream of conscience by the unadorned testimony of the survivors.

Appelfeld is one himself. Born in 1932 in a part of Rumania that now belongs to the Soviet Union, he was sent,...

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