Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld oldest to receive British fiction prize

(JTA) — Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld became the oldest person to win the coveted Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The British award for the 80-year-old Appelfeld, a Holocaust survivor, was announced Tuesday.

His “Blooms of Darkness” tells the story of an 11-year-old boy and his relationship with a prostitute who agreed to hide him in a brothel from the Nazis.

“As the relationship between Hugo and Mariana evolves, this deceptively simple narrative does something extraordinary, carrying the reader to a liminal territory in which deep sensuality exists alongside unfathomable brutality,” said Hephzibah Anderson, one of the prize’s judges.

Appelfeld and the book’s translator, Jeffrey Green, each will receive $8,100.

The author of more than 40 books, Appelfeld said the book was “a work of fiction that includes my personal experience during the Second World War.”


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