22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Gila Lustiger

Gila Lustiger , daughter of the historian Arno Lustiger, was born in 1963 in Frankfurt am Main, where she spent her youth and school years. When she was eighteen she moved to Tel Aviv, and one year later to Jerusalem. Gila Lustiger studied Art History and Comparative Literature, and then – along with the last of the German exiles – German Language and Literature at the Hebrew University. She has lived in her chosen homeland, France, since 1987, along with her two children, working as an editor at a publishing house and a freelance writer.

Lustiger emerged as translator of the Israeli poets Asher Reich and T. Carmi, as well as the French writer Jules Supervielle. In 1995 she published her first work, »Die Bestandsaufnahme« (Eng. »The Inventory«, 2001). In a laconic tone with a feeling for small inconsequential details, Lustiger depicts episodes from everyday life under Nazism in a mosaic-like composition. Rather than setting up a victim-culprit polarity, she depicts how humans got involved with the machinery of annihilation almost without noticing it. In »Aus einer schönen Welt« (1987; t: From a beautiful world), an anti-formation novel, Lustiger paints a sympathetic if somewhat ironic portrait of the pressures of a nuclear family and an arguably well-off woman on the search for self-realisation. Lustiger’s »most French book«, was described by »Le Figaro« as »a modern ›Madame Bovary‹ which has lost its way in George Perec’s ›Things‹«.

Lustiger’s most recent publication, a chronicle of her own family, met with great popularity. Inspired by personal objects such as a paperweight, newspapers and a doll, »So sind wir« (2005; t: So we are) pursues traces of memory and combines them with fictitious elements. This microcosm offers a distinctively ironic view of European history which is, after all, also the history of Jews. Filled with tragic-comic episodes, and at times charged with melancholic undertones, Lustiger brings a fascinating narrative current into flow. »A fine book balanced between lightness and affect, between high craft in construction and a casual, almost reckless voice«, concluded the »Süddeutsche Zeitung«.

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