From Jan ’09 Spotlight: In my August ’07 column, I wrote about Nathan Englander’s visit to Chicago to promote his newly-published novel The Ministry of Special Cases. Ministry was recently released in paperback, and on Tuesday, January 13, Rabbi Victor Mirelman of West Suburban Temple Har Zion (a leading expert in the history of Jews in Argentina) will lead a lunchtime discussion as part of Spertus Institute’s “Jewish Book Club” series.
The Ministry of Special Cases is set in Buenos Aires during the darkest days of the “Dirty War” (1976-1983), when thousands of Argentine citizens–a disproportionate number of whom were Jewish–disappeared. “Part of what interested me about this story was the not knowing of it,” Englander told me in ‘07. “How is it that we Americans don’t know this story? I was given the Holocaust: ‘never forget.’ But I didn’t know, as I was being taught the Holocaust story, that there was a totalitarian regime in my hemisphere, in my lifetime. This was going on, and we were looking away. It’s always interesting: what people want to know and what they don’t want to know… The madness of this book is me toning down a reality that was far madder.”
To read excerpts from The Ministry of Special Cases, visit: www.nathanenglander.com