Trieste by Dasa Drndic
Many contemporary writers believe that in order to overcome the sense of ineffability surrounding the horrors of the Holocaust one must attempt radical innovations in form and content. One may therefore question what impact an essentially historical novel such as Dasa Drndic's Trieste can have? Surely at this stage there is little else to be revealed in terms of the events which led to the rise of Nazism, the ruthlessly efficient extermination of so many lives and the eventual downfall of the Axis powers?
Perhaps the principal success of Trieste then is the seemingly natural ease with which it weaves its fictional protagonists into real personal histories, previously marginalised local events, and the broadest levels of international conflict. The novel tells the story of former maths teacher Haya Tedeschi and her Jewish/Catholic family before, during and after the war. Through them we are given the wartime events of their home town Gorizia and neighbouring city Trieste, both emblematic examples of the persecution Italian Jews faced and that have perhaps been overlooked by history. The novel feels ideal for contrasting the human loss of the Holocaust with the methodical evil that caused it and can be added to the most potent of its genre.