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Daniel Mendelsohn

At Nextbook, Sara Ivry has a very interesting podcast interview (mp3) with Daniel Mendelsohn, in which the author discusses the genesis of his new book, The Lost: A Search For Six of Six Million. The book traces Mendelsohn's hunt for the story behind six members of his family who died in the Holocaust. He ultimately learns how the six died, but more importantly he learns how earlier they lived. (Poets & Writers also had a fine article on Mendelsohn and his book in their October issue. The article's not online, but is very much worth hunting down in print.)

Not being a religious person, I don't believe in the traditional version of the afterlife. But after having read Studs Terkel's wonderful Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith a few years ago, I've been fascinated with the idea of "immortality through remembrance"--the idea that a person does indeed achieve life after death as long as people remember that person and the life he or she lead. And it appears that Mendelsohn has given his ancestors immortality, by the simple fact of unearthing their life stories. Though I generally shy away from 500+ page books, I'm very much interested in reading The Lost.

September 19, 2006 in Books | Permalink