(Review) In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Genre: Fiction, Holocaust, Self-reflection
Rating: 3 stars for good
Peter Matthiessen died in 2014. This book was published shortly after his passing.
For more information about Matthiessen: Wikipedia ; article from the New York Times, article from NPR; a book review from the New York Times.
Clements Olin is a professor of slavic literature. He has traveled from the east coast of America to Poland. He becomes apart of a group who are visiting Auschwitz. Olin is a Zen Buddhist. He is a strong observer of the people who are in the group. Olin had family who was murdered at Auschwitz. While at Auschwitz, Olin is able to understand tangibly what the Nazi's did at Auschwitz. Olin and the people in the group wrestle with pronounced feelings of anger, bitterness, rage, and sadness.
In Paradise, is a philosophical approach to Auschwitz's affect on humanity.
In Paradise is a thinking book. It is a book of analization.
Before purchasing the book, I'd thought it was about a survivor of the Holocaust. I guess in a way it is about a survivor. Even though Olin did not experience first hand the horrors of the Holocaust, his mother did. He knows very little about his mother. Olin feels he was relatively safe and unscathed by the Holocaust. His experience of being at the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, brings everything to focus.
In Paradise is a story of introspection and wrestling with the hard things in life. The things that are not understandable.
In Paradise left me feeling more at a loss than before. It is a "different" kind of book than I've ever read. I am grasping for the words to explain why I feel sense of lostness and despair.