Writing is an intimate act’

In conversation with Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld.

By SUSAN GOODMAN
December 28, 2017 22:40
Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld

Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld. (photo credit: YORAM ASCHHEIM/THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM)

CELEBRATED ISRAELI novelist and recipient of a cornucopia of literary prizes, Aharon Appelfeld was born in 1932 in the village of Jadova, in the former Kingdom of Romania, now Ukraine. At the age of nine, the Romanian Army entered his village and shot his mother and grandmother. Appelfeld and his father were sent to a Transnistria concentration camp. Appelfeld escaped and hid in forests for over two years, joining the Soviet army as a kitchen boy in 1944. Eventually, he made his way to Israel, arriving in 1947. In 1960, he was reunited with his father, whom he discovered had also gone to Israel. Appelfeld’s powerful and evocative writing is fueled by the trauma of his young years, embedded in his narrative as metaphor and allusion.

Routine is important to Aharon Appelfeld. Almost every morning at 8:30 a.m. he sits at his simple wooden desk, tucked in a tiny room in the corner of his Jerusalem apartment. He picks up his pen and continues writing his current book in a neat and careful hand.

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