Monday, July 2, 2012

A Tired Novel

Appelfeld’s “All Whom I Have Loved” is a tired novel, about tired people eking out their tired lives.  The exhaustion can infect the reader too, so you should beware.  Part of the problem is that Appelfeld is going over ground that he has gone over before with a more accomplished hand.  So what is left is the material in this novel, which is what is left over.  

Can a tired novel be good?  In a sense, yes.  Appelfeld accomplishes his goals in this work.  We are shown the whole sweep of the life of a family, we get it all, with almost nothing left out.  This is part of the problem. More could have been left out to the benefit of the novel.  As a novella, this might have worked, but as it is, Appelfeld just gives us too much material for the set up.

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