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What are the Blind Men Dreaming?

What are the Blind Men Dreaming?

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By Noemi Jaffe
Translated from the Brazilian Portuguese by Julia Sanches and from the Serbian by Ellen Elias-Bursać

Three generations of women reflect, in their own words, on the Holocaust and bearing witness in Jewish and Brazilian identity.

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Paperback: 9781941920367
eBook: 9781941920374


"This is much more than a survival story. It is the story of how the scars of a woman can be and are passed through generations. It is about being a woman, a mother, and a daughter." —Gabriela Almeida, Continente

"An infinite work." —O Estadão de São Paulo

A groundbreaking use of storytelling to bear witness to the Holocaust features three generations of women's own voices—Lili's diary written upon liberation from Auschwitz; daughter Noemi Jaffe exploring the power of memory, survival, and bearing witness; and granddaughter Leda, Noemi's daughter, on the significance of the Holocaust and Jewish identity seventy years after the war.


Recommended in CLMP's 2020 Reading List for Women in Translation Month
Included in Words Without Borders's September 2016 Watchlist

“It is said that ‘we must never forget,’ but, as the world becomes a more volatile place, it becomes easy to wonder if some of those lessons have begun to be forgotten. Compelling pieces of literature from the Jewish diaspora such as Jaffe's novel that make bystanders ask the questions and feel the inexplicable feeling of suffering and survival are more important now than ever.” —Hannah Wise, Dallas Morning News

“A thoughtful and moving addition to the canon of Holocaust literature.” Jewish Book Council

"Jaffe adds to Brazil’s well-established tradition of Jewish writing, which includes the likes of Clarice Lispector and Moacyr Scliar . . . What Are the Blind Men Dreaming? is an exquisite and original meditation" Bruna Dantas Lobato, Ploughshares

"An arresting account of the holocaust and expatriation." The Culture Trip

“A book that fights against oblivion every step of the way—in Stern, writing her story for it to be read by the generations to come, and in Jaffe and Cartum, who meditate on what it means to remember, and to live in the wake of memory. The Holocaust is something that is totalizing in its horror. It resists being thought about or written about.” Josh Phillips, Moment Magazine

“This is much more than a survival story. It is the story of how the scars of a woman can be and are passed through generations. It is about being a woman, a mother and a daughter.” Gabriela Almeida, Continente

"This book of Noemi and her mother, however, is not just another painful story; it is the conclusion that there are no answers for what happened. But there is one certainty: 'You have to remember, we must forget.' This is the key to overcoming a past so infinitely bad. So Noemi turns the story into a mosaic of questions — and is thus an infinite work."O Estadão de São Paulo