Magical realism and allegory in Joseph Skibell's A Blessing on the Moon

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2017, vol. 43, iss. 2, pp. [95]-110
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
License: Not specified license
This paper analyzes Skibell's novel A Blessing on the Moon (1997), focusing on elements of the book's magical realism and allegory. It sets out to interpret Skibell's transposition of the Holocaust to his own experience as a representative of the post-Holocaust generation. Finally, the paper explores the ethical problems of this approach to the Holocaust – an approach that relies heavily on imagination. The interpretation of Skibell's novel demonstrates that the imaginative enactment of the tragic traumatic events cannot be dismissed as a mere appropriation of the Holocaust or as a form of "identity theft"; instead it must be seen as the author's genuine attempt to come to terms with the original trauma of his ancestors. In Skibell's case it is his great-grandfather Chaim Skibelski whose voice was silenced in the war and who becomes the protagonist of the novel.
  • This article is part of the research project SGS11/FF/2015, University of Ostrava, "America as the Promised Land? Representation of Immigration in Selected Works of American Literature." It is also the result of my co-operation with the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.
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