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A fascinating retelling of Oskar Schindler's extraordinary story and how it came to the world's attention through Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize-winning novel and the subsequent multiple Oscar-winning film, Schindler's List
Thomas Keneally has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize four times and won it with SCHINDLER'S ARK in 1982. His novels have been filmed - SCHINDLER'S LIST and THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH - and dramatised - THE PLAYMAKER. He has also written several works of non-fiction.
This very readable narrative is Keneally's tale of how he came to hear of a man named Osckar Schindler, write a book about him and see it turned into a movie. It begins with Poldek, the man whose LA store Keneally steps into to replace a broken briefcase. One of those who attribute their survival of the Holocaust to Schindler, Poldek is larger than life, disarming, and generous with his compliments. It is easy to see how he convinced Keneally to take on Schindler's story and how his energy pressed the project on. Before the book is even agreed to, Poldek is adamant it will become a film. ¿You'll win an Oscar for Oskar,' he would later tell Steven Spielberg-who did, of course. This is neither an in-depth examination of the process of writing the book (Schindler's Ark is completed by the time we are halfway through), nor of making the film (though we do visit the set), nor is Schindler necessarily at its very heart. Reading it, one feels as if Keneally were in the room telling a series of anecdotes with the polish (and very slight weariness) of someone who has told them many times before: his thoughts on Spielberg, the actors, winning the Booker, meeting the Clintons-and his ever-present knowledge that his book's success is based on unthinkable horrors. Above all this reads like an affectionate and ultimately poignant thankyou to Poldek, one that seems very well deserved. Matthia Dempsey is deputy editor of Bookseller+Publisher
Australian author Keneally was awarded the 1982 Booker Prize for his novel Schindler's List. How Keneally came to write that novel about Oskar Schindler's rescue of more than a thousand Jews from the Holocaust is a tale that, curiously enough, began in Beverly Hills while the author was promoting his Civil War novel, Confederates. Looking for a new briefcase, he entered a luggage shop owned by the ebullient, charismatic Leopold "Poldek" Pfefferberg, one of Schindler's survivors. Poldek gave Keneally copies of documents he had once assembled for a Schindler film that was never made. Nan Talese, then at Simon & Schuster, offered a $60,000 advance for a book, and Keneally and Poldek left on an international research expedition. That journey and the survivors they met form the compelling centerpiece of this moving memoir. With publication, the question arose as to whether Schindler's List was a novel or history, but Keneally had planned from the start to write "what Truman Capote or his publisher had called faction." The closing chapters cover the making of Steven Spielberg's 1993 film adaptation, which won seven Academy Awards. Photos. (Oct. 14) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Keneally's hunt for the man a Holocaust survivor described to him as the "all-drinking, all-screwing, all-black-marketeering Nazi Oskar Schindler--but to me he was Jesus Christ." Stuff on the film, too. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'Had I read SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER before making the film, I may have made it an hour longer. I owe you so much. The world owes you more.' -- Steven Spielberg 'Keneally is incapable of writing a dull book. This memoir, listed as his 38th publication, is no exception' -- Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald