Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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The second and last children's book by the extraordinary Holocaust survivor and Hebrew-language author of the award-winning Adam & Thomas.

A mystical and transcendent journey of two wanderers, an eleven-year-old boy and an old man to whom the boy has been entrusted by his father, a Jew, fleeing the ravages of the war by the late award-winning author, Aharon Appelfeld. The old man is a former Ukranian commander, revered by the soldiers under his command, who has gone blind and chosen the life of a wanderer as his last spiritual adventure. The child, now disguised as a Ukranian non-Jew, learns from the old man how to fend for himself and how to care for others. In the tradition of The Alchemist, the travelers learn from each other and the boy grows stronger and wiser as the old man teaches him the art of survival and, through the stories he shares, the reasons for living. Long Summer Nights carries its magic not only in the words, but also in the silences between them.

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First championed in the English language by Irving Howe and Philip Roth, Aharaon Appelfeld was born in a village near Czernowitz, Bukovina, in 1932. During World War II, he was deported to a concentration camp in Transnistria, but escaped. For the next three years, he wandered the forests. In 1944, he was picked up by the Red Army, served in field kitchens in Ukraine, then made his way to Italy. He reached Palestine in 1946. Today, Appelfeld is Professor Emeritus of Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University at Beersheva, a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has won numerous prizes, including the Israel Prize; the MLA Commonwealth Award in Literature; the Prix Médicis étranger in France; the Premio Grinzane Cavour and Premio Boccaccio Internazionale; the Bertha von Suttner Award for Culture and Peace; and the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. In 2013, he was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. Appelfeld died in 2018.