Hitler, Mirka, Mireille and Me
by Ben Stoltzfus
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 10 Nov 2022
A fourteen-year old American boy and his parents escape from the Nazi-occupied Balkans during World War II. They travel from Bulgaria through Turkey and the Middle East to America but danger pursues them on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic when their ship is attacked by a German submarine, and threatened by the battleship Tirpitz.
With compelling prose Stoltzfus makes each character come vividly alive: Mirka, a Gypsy, the family maid who seduces the boy, Mireille, a precocious French girl who introduces him to Sade’s Philosophy in the Boudoir, his devout father, a pacifist, Archangel and Satan fighting over the boy’s soul, which he thinks is going in one direction but, because soul is all around him, is going everywhere and nowhere.
Although Transgression describes war and seduction, it is also a trip through international literature. Throughout, the wind, flowers, nightingales and symbolic colors in Oriental rugs foreshadow things to come. Hitler’s rants, poetry and dreams appear as recurring tropes--images that are woven into the woof and weft of the writing process. They are the golden thread. Subtly honed with hallmark precision and keen insight, Transgression exemplifies the best in narrative art.
A Note From the Publisher
"One of the most fascinating autofictions I have read over the past few years, Transgression is a page-turner, and one of a kind"
—Christian Moraru, Professor of American Literature and Critical Theory, UNC, Greensboro, Author of Cosmodernism, American Narrative, Late Globalization and the New Cultural Imaginary
"Literature and early sex, while not uncommon as adolescent ladders out of the stone den of puritanism, find, in Stoltzfus’s beautifully poised prose, a lucid, powerful and archetypal enunciation here.”
—John Diamond-Nigh Professor Emeritus, Elmira College Author of Sacred Sins and Twine
"Stoltzfus’s command of engaging historical detail and cultural trappings, both significant and charmingly incidental, assures our attentive investment in the rites of passage for one and a passage to safety for all."
—Dwight Yates Professor Emeritus, UC Riverside, Winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction, Author of Haywire Hearts and Slide Trombones
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