Here are my thoughts about “Scraps of Heaven”.
It’s a novel I have chosen to read because it’s written by an Australian writer, Arnold Zable, in the hope that it could tell me something more about the place where I’m living now.
The novel is set in Melbourne, Carlton, in 1958. A polish family has emigrated here after surviving the concentration camps in Poland. The plot is very simple, doesn’t happen much and the characters are haunted by the past. Zofia is one of the main characters and her life is divided in two, before and after the WW II. What she has lived in the concentration camps can’t be told, can’t be understood, not even by her brother who left Poland before the war to become a rich man in Australia. Although she has survived and has left the old world for a new life, we readers are still unsure if she will ever begin a new life, a better life.
It took me a while to finish this novel, at the beginning the story wasn’t flowing and I was getting bored but towards the end I got trapped by something, I don’t even know what.
I don’t know why but this few sentences got me in some way and I wanted to write them down:
Now tell me, what miseries must have afflicted us to be able to spit venom like that?
Yiddish is the greatest language on God’s earth and the proof is in its curses.
“May an umbrella enter your stomach and open up”
“May you lose all your teeth but one tooth should remain so that you will have a toothache”
“May an entire orchestra enter your stomach and I’ll be the conductor”
“May your feet be made of wood, and your stomach contain water and your head be made of glass, so that when your feet catch fire, your stomach will boil and your head will explode”.
This is very creative language!
Something which made me stop and think were Zofia’s words too:
it’s later than you think.
They remind me of Latin words I studied back at school: Carpe Diem! which I should probably remind myself more often.