Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally - review by Paul Ableman

Paul Ableman

Truth and Triumph

Schindler's Ark


Hodder & Stoughton 432pp £7.95 order from our bookshop

This is a very fine book and quite possibly a great one. But is it a novel? It is the story of a historical figure, Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German, and it is the product of detailed research. The events it relates occurred in geographical locations and in historical time. Its characters all inhabited the earth and some still do. Keneally’s preface explains ‘it has been necessary to attempt to reconstruct conversations of which Oskar and others have left only the briefest record. But most exchanges and conversations, and all events, are based on… detailed recollections…’ 

Voices have been heard protesting that England’s premier prize for fiction, the Booker Prize, should not have been awarded, as it has been, to this work and that it cannot, by any legitimate extension of the term’s meaning, be considered a novel. If Schindler’s Ark merits a fiction award, the

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