Odyssey n°2 : How far back can I remember ?

In partnership with Festival of Israel
and the French institute of Tel Aviv
Voice : Aharon Appelfeld
Created in, May 2016 – Jerusalem Theatre

“How do you rebuild in the wake of total destruction when all you can rely on is fragments of memory? Aharon Appelfeld’s voice communicates to us on such a deep level through its, husky tone and slow rhythm resounding like song.
In this version of the Odyssey, staged after several meetings with the author, the soundtrack sends an obsessive sound, seemingly from afar: the murmur of a sleeping city. The cello takes over. It spins out a phrase slowly, till a first guttural break leaves the listener hanging on. The murmur persists through the stasis.
The pre-recorded voice of Aharon Appelfeld continues. Gently, he reads excerpts from his novel, The Story of a Life. As the dialogue moves forward, the accents of the cello approach the sound of Hebrew, its timbre, and intonation. Until the two become one. Imperceptibly, as in a dream, their music comes together.”

— extract from The Story of a Life (our translation)
Copyright © 1999, Aharon Appelfeld, All rights reserved

Where does my memory begin? Sometimes, it seems to me that I was only around four when we set out for the first time, my mother, my father and I to spend our holidays in the dark, damp forests of the Carpathians. At other times, it seems that my memory started to germinate earlier, in my bedroom, near the double window decorated with paper flowers. I see the snow falling, the soft, downy flakes dropping from the sky. The rustling sound is imperceptible. For long hours, I sit watching this prodigy, till I melt into the whiteness and drift into sleep.

Aharon Appelfeld was born in 1932 in Bukovina. When war broke out, his family were sent to a ghetto, then deported. In autumn 1942, Aharon Appelfeld escaped from the camp in Transnistria. In 1945, he was taken in by the Red Army, before making his way across Europe, travelling with a group of orphans, to Italy, whence he embarked covertly on a boat to Palestine where he arrived in 1946. At the end of the 1950s, he decided to turn to literature and set about writing in Hebrew, his “adopted mother tongue”. Half a century later, Aharon Appelfeld, now one of the greatest writers of our time, has published some thirty books.