Aharon Appelfeld’s The Story of a Life should be read because it is a fine piece of fictionalized memoir. Appelfeld utter fascination with silence find expression in this book: his long years alone in the woods fleeing the Nazis, his even longer years trying to find a voice in a new language in Israel (Hebrew) which would eventually become the language of his literature, is extremely compelling and even harrowing. Appelfeld tells an intelligent, heart rending story from start to finish.
This book is also a kind of key to much of Appelfeld’s fiction. Many of the motifs, the fixations, the themes that are explored, especially in his early years, are here in an unmediated format. This book is essential for Appelfeld readers.