Publication Date: 12/08/2021 ISBN: 9781911617495 Category:


Menachem Kaiser

Publisher: Scribe Publications
Publication Date: 12/08/2021 ISBN: 9781911617495 Category:
Paperback / Softback




An unputdownable tale of one man’s quest to recover his family’s property, plundered by the Nazis.

Menachem Kaiser’s brilliantly told story is set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s property in Sosnowiec, Poland. Here, he meets a Polish lawyer known as ‘The Killer’ who agrees to take his case and becomes involved with a band of Silesian treasure-seekers, all the while piecing together his family’s complex history.

Propelled by rich, original research, Kaiser immerses readers in profound questions that reach far beyond his personal quest. What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living?

Plunder is both a deeply immersive adventure story and an irreverent, daring interrogation of inheritance – material, spiritual, familial, and emotional.

Publisher Review

'Menachem Kaiser is a young writer and storyteller of stunning talent, originality, and wisdom, and his debut book is gloriously impossible to categorise - by turns hilarious and profound, digressive and suspenseful, intimate and sweeping, it stands as an enviable accomplishment.' -- Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction: pilgrimage for the restless and hopeful 'Reparations and treasure hunting: I can't think of two better metaphors for memoir writing, and I can't think of a better recent memoir than Menachem Kaiser's Plunder, which has heart, humour, and intelligence to spare.' -- Joshua Cohen, author of Attention: dispatches from a land of distraction 'A saga of family history and inheritance that reads like a murder mystery, Plunder begins with Menachem Kaiser's journey to reclaim a Polish apartment building but immediately becomes something far richer and stranger. Probing with unusual insight and humour into questions of memory, loss, and what we owe to the past, this impossible-to-put-down book - part travelogue, part memoir, part meditation on all that history hides from us - marks the debut of a major writer.' -- Ruth Franklin, author of NBCC Award-winning Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life 'Exceptionally well written, this candid and suspenseful work recasts the injunction that one generation of survivors demands of all descendants, never to forget. Plunder is a magnificent and stunning literary debut.' -- Andre Aciman, author of Find Me and Call Me by Your Name 'In a literate, constantly surprising quest, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor returns to Poland to lay claim to the things of the past ... Kaiser's parallel quest then took him into the concentration camps, sometimes accompanied by treasure hunters who used his relative's memoir as a guidebook to hidden Nazi loot. Of a piece with Anne-Marie O'Connor's The Lady in Gold (2012), Kaiser's story approaches the conclusion on an unsettled note that, he laments, would be simpler to resolve if he were writing a novel and not nonfiction - though it does end on a cliffhanger worthy of a thriller.' * Kirkus Reviews, starred review * 'A twisting and reverberant and consistently enthralling story. It's a weird story that gets weirder ... Kaiser is a reflective man on the page, with a lively mind. He dwells on the moral seesaw he finds himself on ... Kaiser considers the nature of conspiracy theories, in a way that's highly relevant to our era. (His thinking about reparations of various kinds is as complex and timely.) ... Plunder has many stories to tell ... many moods and registers. It acquires moral gravity. It pays tender and respectful attention to forgotten lives. It is also alert to melancholic forms of comedy. Tonally I was reminded at times of Jonathan Safran Foer's excellent first novel, Everything Is Illuminated ... Traveling on a private road, closer to the ground, and at a slower pace, [Kaiser's] walk turns up details that are fresh, unexpected and significant. His perceptions are sharp. We partake of his curiosity.' -- Dwight Garner * The New York Times * 'This is weird, complicated territory - by which I mean it's fantastic ... Plunder thrives as a morally complicated travelogue ... it is original, and it finishes strong. Kaiser chases down the facts (fingers-crossed) of Abraham Kajzer's story, and they devastated me. It's not spoiling things to say that Kajzer survived the absolute worst humanity had to offer only to abandon life's greatest reward. From the distance of all these years his choice is incomprehensible. It's our duty to try to understand anyway.' * The New York Times Book Review * 'A master storyteller embarks on a journey to learn about his grandfather and to reclaim an apartment building that was stolen during the Holocaust. The odyssey is fascinating and thought-provoking.' * Christian Science Monitor, 'The 10 Best Books of March' * 'With smart, elegant prose, [Kaiser] manages to construct an engrossing chronicle of his foray into an elusive past. His narrative is wonderfully digressive, laced with coincidences and ambiguities, and filled with just enough revelations to keep readers contentedly turning pages.' * The Forward * 'Spellbinding ... Superbly written, this page-turner reads like a gripping adventure novel.' * Publishers Weekly, starred review * 'This thoughtful and thought-provoking memoir of family secrets and family lore, like Daniel Mendelsohn's The Lost, will appeal to readers of family histories.' -- Laurie Unger Skinner * Library Journal * 'Kaiser teases out a fascinating tale in simple, effective writing.' -- Steven Carrol * SHM * 'Plunder is both a thriller - lots of shady characters - and a highly readable excursion through the tangled web of history and contemporary politics. Kaiser takes you along on his journey of trying retrieving family possessions. He writes with sparkle, wit, and sensitivity. A great read.' -- Deborah Levy, author of The Cost of Living 'Stranger than fiction ... a rollercoaster journey.' -- Jennifer Lipman * Jewish Chronicle * 'Plunder is considerably more than a thriller and intentionally raises more questions than answers ... There is still space for one more book in the Holocaust quest library. Preferably by Kaiser.' -- Amanda Hopinkson * Jewish Chronicle *

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