Heidegger's Glasses: A Novel
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Into this covert compound comes a letter written by eminent philosopher Martin Heidegger to his optometrist, who is now lost in the dying thralls of Auschwitz. How will the scribes answer this letter? The presence of Heidegger’s words—one simple letter in a place filled with letters—sparks a series of events that will ultimately threaten the safety and well-being of the entire compound.
Part love story, part thriller, part meditation on how the dead are remembered and history presented, with threads of Heidegger’s philosophy woven throughout, the novel evocatively illustrates the Holocaust through an almost dreamlike state. Thaisa Frank deftly reconstructs the landscape of Nazi Germany from an entirely original vantage point.
wrote letters. How do you know? said Mikhail. I did research. Stumpf was always telling Mikhail he did research. They’d come to the white house with the four artificial rose bushes, the artificial pear tree, and 917 on the bronze metal plaque. Mikhail walked around a flowerpot and opened the door. Stumpf shoved Lars away and touched Mikhail’s shoulder. Can I come in? Stumpf’s face appeared pinched, the way people look when they think they might be shot. Mikhail knew that look. He’d seen it
use these orders to save two lives. Elie walked to the bookcase and picked up a photograph. It was a picture of Mikhail’s son Aaron. Everyone is worth saving. Not if they’re already dead, said Mikhail. There was a knock on the door—it was Lars, ready to take Mikhail out to see the sky. You cannot rescue the world, said Mikhail getting up. Elie walked alone under the frozen stars and looked in on Maria, who seemed younger and smaller beneath the pile of coats. Then she took the mineshaft to
artillery and a chorus of shut ups and use your fucking pen for God’s sake. It was La Toya, who meant to publish his memoirs after the war. Then there was silence and no more mumbling. Undoubtedly Sonia’s delectable bum had distracted Stumpf, and it crossed his mind that he wouldn’t show him the letter but bring it straight to Elie. On the other hand, Stumpf had been hovering constantly. And he’d helped save Maria, even if Elie had done all the legwork. What nonsense, Talia said again when she
another knight. He was sure they wanted to tell him about the letter and then ask if he really had known Heidegger. No matter where you were in this war, there was gossip. It kept people going. But no one said anything, and Asher was the one left to think about Heidegger in the Commandant’s room wearing a ski outfit and an Alpine hat, while Mozart drowned out gunshots and Solomon’s letter waved in front of him. Asher had a vivid sense of Auschwitz—corpses like sheets on the barbed-wire fence,
stage of reconstruction and disarray and a blue and white coffee mug on a book. Inside the storage room, Asher lit the Tiffany lamp and handed Elie a glass of wine. But Elie pushed the wineglass away and told Asher that things were in a shambles: Mueller had just killed Lars. The Heideggers gave Goebbels her name. And Goebbels knew about Dimitri. Her voice shook. She was close to tears. This place isn’t safe, she said. And you and Daniel and Dimitri aren’t safe. You have to find a way to take