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Corinna Harfouch

reads "Gebranntes Kind sucht das Feuer" by Cordelia Edvardson

According to Daniel Kehlmann, Cordelia Edvardson's novel "Gebranntes Kind sucht das Feuer" is "one of the great works of Holocaust testimony." He places it among the works of acclaimed writers like Primo Levi, Imre Kertész, Jorge Semprún, and Ruth Klüger. Cordelia, born out of wedlock, is "three-quarters Jewish." Her mother, Elisabeth Langgässer, is a famous writer married to an "Aryan German" and a fervent Catholic. In a pivotal moment, the mother does not protect her daughter, but saves herself. While her mother lives on in Berlin, Cordelia is deported to Auschwitz at the age of fourteen. Cordelia Edvardson tells the overwhelming, lucid, and haunting story of her childhood in Berlin in the 1930s, of brutal exclusion, shame, the desperate search for belonging, and, finally, of survival as a woman in the concentration camp. Hers is the tale of a desperate search for identity, a painful approach to the betrayal by her own mother, an attempt to face the past unflinchingly. Though it has been awarded the Geschwister Scholl Prize in 1986, "Gebranntes Kind sucht das Feuer" has not yet received the recognition it deserves. In her reading of Edvardon’s novel, Corinna Harfouch invites us to rediscover this literary treasure.

Cordelia Edvardson, Gebranntes Kind sucht das Feuer, Translated from the Swedish by Ursel Allenstein, © 2023 Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Munich

Photo: Pascal Bünning

Duration: 1h 30m
no interval

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