Cover image for The journey : a novel
The journey : a novel
Adler, H. G.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Reise. English
2009 Modern Library pbk. ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Modern Library, 2009.

2009, ©2008
Physical Description:
xxi, 292 pages ; 21 cm
A novel of the Holocaust based on the author's own experiences chronicles the ordeal of one family, forced from their home and struggling to cope with the destruction, deprivation, and death around them, from the perspective of a single survivor. The tragic tale of the Lustig family doctor Leopold; his wife, Caroline; their children, Zerlina and Paul; and Caroline's sister, Ida who are sent to the walled city of Ruhenthal after authorities label them forbidden. Taking place during an unspecified period of war and genocide, the story is based on Adler's experiences at Theresienstadt, a labor camp where he was imprisoned for two and a half years during WWII.
General Note:
Translation of: Eine Reise.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



Here is "a rich and lyrical masterpiece"--notes Peter Constantine--the first translation of a lost treasure by acclaimed author H. G. Adler, a survivor of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. Written in 1950, after Adler's emigration to England, The Journey was ignored by large publishing houses after the war and not released in Germany until 1962. Depicting the Holocaust in a unique and deeply moving way, and avoiding specific mention of country or camps--even of Nazis and Jews--The Journey is a poetic nightmare of a family's ordeal and one member's survival. Led by the doctor patriarch Leopold, the Lustig family finds itself "forbidden" to live, enduring in a world in which "everyone was crazy, and once they finally recognized what was happening it was too late." Linked by its innovative style to the work of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, The Journey portrays the unimaginable in a way that anyone interested in recent history and modern literature must read.

Author Notes

H. G. Adler was the author of twenty-six books of fiction, poetry, philosophy, and history. A survivor of the Holocaust, Adler later settled in England and began writing novels about his experience, The Journey being the first of six works of fiction. Working as a freelance writer and teacher throughout his life, Adler died in London in 1988.

Peter Filkins is an acclaimed translator and the recipient of a Berlin Prize fellowship in 2005 from the American Academy in Berlin, among other honors. He teaches writing and literature at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.



Augury Driven forth, certainly, yet without understanding, man is sub- jected to a fate that at one point appears to consist of misery, at another of happiness, then perhaps something else; but in the end everything is drowned in a boundlessness that tolerates no limit, against which, as many have said, any assertion is a rarity, an island in a measureless ocean. Therefore there is no cause for grief. Also, it's best not to seek out too many opinions, because, by linking delusions and fears to which we are addicted, strong views keep you constantly drawn to what does not exist, or even if it did, would seem prohibited. So you find yourself inclined to agree with this or that notion, the emptiness of a sensible or blindly followed bit of wisdom, until you finally become aware of how unfathomable any view is, and that one is wise to quietly refrain from getting too involved with the struggles to salvage anything from the rubbish heap, life's course demanding this of us already. Thus some measure of peace is attained. It's a peace found in endless flight, but nonetheless genuine peace. It is to be sure not an escape from yourself, no matter how much it may seem so, but rather the flight that consists of a ceaseless progression along the winding paths of a solitary realm, and because you abide in this realm you can call it peace, for upon time's stage everything remains fixed in the present. You're still a part of this. You travel many roads, and in many towns you appear with your relatives and friends; you stand, you walk, you fall and die. You don't believe you're still on the stage, even when you acknowledge you were once on it. But you're wrong, for they took you away and set you back onstage amid the fleeting journey. You didn't escape, even when you seemed suddenly sunk, figuratively and literally. Yet what happens onstage? Many analogies are sought that often capture something essential, but none serves us better than the metaphor of the journey, which we can think of as flight. But what entity is it amid all these travels that recalls its own essence? It's memory itself, which sets out on the journey and is also dragged along through constant wandering. This entity, however, cannot leave its present location; that's why it acts in the present and finds space enough to unfold upon a single stage, which allows nothing else to appear but this entity capable of remembering itself, and so the image of the journey as flight arrives at a sense of peace, the entity that experiences it having been born in memory itself. We are often reproached for the passivity of our beginning, of how reluctant we were to bring matters out into the open. But we cannot blame ourselves for our own expulsion, for that would imply that we wanted to give up. Thus we begin our search for a resting place ever anew; driven perhaps by an insatiability that in the end defines us, we are the heralds of life. The previously drawn analogy between the journey and peace becomes nothing but an analogy unto itself the moment we apply it in practical terms, becoming invalid in the world at large, because now everything appears to be in motion and indeed transforms itself entirely through motion. With good reason, one could speak of a passion or obsession that would sweep others along with us insofar as we are able to capture the living breath of our experience in motion. For indeed, we are our own creation; whether we are denied or accepted at our final end, when one must answer for oneself, much more depends, namely the flourishing of a world that, out of its deepest despair and highest aspirations, is called upon to form its own, in a certain sense, eternal countenance amid the destruction of our only meaningful and yet impalpable achievement, one accomplished in and for itself without the participation and help of the world at large. Thus peace is let Excerpted from The Journey: A Novel by H. G. Adler, H.G. Adler All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.