The Book Of Dirt

Bram Presser

The Book Of Dirt
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The Book Of Dirt

Bram Presser

Winner of the Voss Literary Prize 2018

The Book of Dirt is a love story, a riveting survivors' tale, and a grandson’s quest to learn about his grandparents' extraordinary lives. The author’s family built myths around them: Jakub was a teacher in the camps, keeping the children busy until it was their turn to be killed; Dasa laid the railway sleepers on the tracks that brought her fellow Jews to their deaths. When they died, their stories went with them.

Then came the cracks. Everything the author thought he knew was wrong. In this story of two unlikely survivors, Bram Presser brilliantly imagines the fate of Jakub, deported to Auschwitz and to Theresienstadt, where it was rumoured after the war that he had sorted through thousands of Jewish texts confiscated for a so-called Nazi Museum of the Extinct Race. The Book of Dirt is also the story of Frantiska, her fraught marriage in Prague, and how she and her two eldest daughters, Dasa and Irena, miraculously survived the camps.

The Book of Dirt is a completely original, page-turning novel about family myths and Jewish myths. And it is a heart-warming story about a grandson’s devotion to the power of writing, storytelling and his family’s legacy.

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