Unshed Tears: A Novel...but Not a Fiction

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When Edith Hofmann sat down to write this book, she was a 19-year-old coming to terms with the fact of her own survival. It is a story which describes a struggle; the struggle to come to terms with a haunting past, the struggle to survive, and the struggle to unburden a broken heart. It also embodies a struggle to form, in language, that which at times all but defies linguistic form. When Hofmann started writing this book she had only been speaking English for two years, and yet she wanted to convey her experiences, in English, to those with whom she had made her home. The cruel reality was that no one really wanted to hear. She poured out her soul, only to be told that 'no one was interested in the war any more'. This was 1950. Some fifty years later she revisited the manuscript, wondering whether such a text would have any value. For fifty years her text had lain in her drawer, waiting to be read. Her story is a novel, but it certainly is not a fiction. Scared for her own safety, Hofmann chose to write in the third person rather than pen a memoir. Every page is bound up with the intricate details of her life, those whom she loved, and those whom she lost; the echoes of those terrible years, and the memory they imposed. In compiling this text, she decided neither to change it, by removing discrepancies or updating anything, which Hofmann wrote in the late 1940s, nor to improve her English, but rather to leave it as a raw and indelible testimony not only to her survival but to her bid to survive survival. You will be moved; not only by what she has written, but by the fact that she wrote at all.