The Idea of Fiction
I remember at one time poets used to "poeticize" it is still possible to write verses it is also possible to do many other things
-- Tadeusz Rozewics
Although it claims a vast and growing readership, Holocaust fiction goes against the grain. In the ongoing critical discourse about the Holocaust and its representation, the status of imaginative literature as a serious venue for reflections about historical events comes repeatedly under question. Holocaust fiction is seen by many readers as--at best--a weaker, softer kind of testimony when compared to the rigors of history, or--at worst--a misleading, dangerous confusion of verisimilitude with reality. Louis Begley, in reflecting on the connection of his novels to his personal experience as a child survivor, succinctly articulates what many readers find most problematic about the idea of Holocaust fiction: "To separate what is true from what is not would be like trying to unscramble an omelet" (Fein C10). But the word "fiction" as a synonym for "lies" poses it antithetically to truth and reflects negatively on the expressive possibilities of a particular literary form when applied to the world of actual events.
The present study presumes fiction as a serious vehicle for thinking about the Holocaust. The trope of muteness, predominant in Holocaust narratives of all sorts, functions in fiction deliberately and explicitly to