Reviews.

Kafka comes to Argentina

In The Ministry of Special Cases Nathan Englander tells a story of the Dirty War of Argentina as if in the guise of Isaac Bashevis Singer. The tale is steeped in irony, told through the eyes of a Jew, Kaddish Pozsnan, even outcast from the Jewish community of Buenos Aires.

His very name connotes the praise of God, a sentiment hardly visible in Kaddish’s life and experience. When his son Pato the unversity student disappears, his daily battles with his son are replaced with his family’s desperate and disparate attempts to locate their los desaparecido, even with appeals to the Ministry of Special Cases, the Kafkaesque government ministry which might well just disappear you for inquiring about a loved one.

Englander’s considerable novelistic skills are employed here to provide a glimpse of what it would it be like to experience the family’s devastation over a child ‘missing in action,’ in a society which is frozen by the fear of being the next victim.

A gift from Jon and Melinda, and Benn and Jenn. An author recommended by Jenn.

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