Jacob the Liar (Signed copy)
With handwritten letter from Jurek Becker to Arnold Wesker
First US edition (second printing? B-C-D-E). Hardback in dustwrapper. 20.5 × 14cm, vii + 266pp.
This copy belonged to playwright Arnold Wesker who has signed and dated the ffep. There is also a handwritten letter to Wesker from the author, Jurek Becker, thanking him for a pleasant evening and giving his Berlin phone nunbers (this letter is also signed by Becker's wife, Hannah. And also a typed letter signed from Prof Henry Prais, Dept of Languages at Herriot-Watt University, concerning the translation.
In the midst of a morally inverted universe where the monstrously wicked has become utterly commonplace, Jacob Heym, a yellow star on his chest, gives hope to his fellow ghetto occupants by telling them he has clandestinely overheard a radio report that Russian troops are advancing and will soon liberate the ghetto. One life-sustaining lie leads to another as the former eatery owner, who now does back-breaking forced labor in a freight yard, circulates invented radio news of German defeats and Allied progress. Jacob's stories halt a stream of suicides, even though savage beatings, shootings, executions, starvation and deportations to concentration camps continue unabated. In a moving, almost hallucinatory, narrative that gives voice to a grief beyond words, Becker shows us ordinary people struggling to maintain their humanity and dignity.
The book is in very good condition, with a little light wear to the boards' edges and light tanning to the page edges. The dustwrapper is in good condition with some edge-wear. It has been price-clipped but is now within a protective sleeve.