A poignant, heartbreaking new
work by Aharon Appelfeld—the story of a lonely older man and his devoted young
caretaker who transform each other’s lives in ways they could never have
Ernst is a gruff
seventy-year-old Red Army veteran from Ukraine who landed, almost by accident,
in Israel after World War II. A retired investment adviser, he lives alone and
spends his time laboring over his unpublished novels. Irena, in her
mid-thirties, is the unmarried daughter of Holocaust survivors who has been
taking care of Ernst since his surgery two years earlier. Quiet and shy, Irena
is in awe of Ernst’s intellect. And as the months pass, Ernst comes to depend
on the gentle young woman who runs his house, listens to him read from his
work, and occasionally offers a spirited commentary on it.
But Ernst’s writing gives him
no satisfaction, and he is haunted by his godless, Communist past. His health,
already poor, begins to deteriorate even further; he becomes mired in
depression and seems to lose the will to live. But this is something Irena will
not allow. As she becomes an increasingly important part of his life—moving
into his home, encouraging him in his work, easing his pain—Ernst not only
regains his sense of self and discovers the path through which his writing can
flow but he also discovers, to his amazement, that Irena is in love with him.
And, even more astonishing, he realizes that he is in love with her, too. Download and start listening now!