The Book of Dirt
They chose not to speak and now they are gone. And we cannot find the pieces of the puzzle that make up those few years of their life, for they too are gone...What's left to fill the silence is no longer theirs. This is my story, woven from the threads of rumour and legend. The Book of Dirt is a love story, a riveting survivors' tale, and a grandson's quest to learn about his grandparents' extraordinary lives. The author's family built myths around them: Jakub was a teacher in the camps, keeping the children busy until it was their turn to be killed; Dasa laid the railway sleepers on the tracks that brought her fellow Jews to their deaths. When they died, their stories went with them. Then came the cracks. Everything the author thought he knew was wrong. In this story of two unlikely survivors, Bram Presser brilliantly imagines the fate of Jakub, deported to Auschwitz and to Theresienstadt, where it was rumoured after the war that he had sorted through thousands of Jewish texts confiscated for a so-called Nazi Museum of the Extinct Race. The Book of Dirt is also the story of Frantiska, her fraught marriage in Prague, and how she and her two eldest daughters, Dasa and Irena, miraculously survived the camps. The Book of Dirt is a completely original, page-turning novel about family myths and Jewish myths. And it is a heart-warming story about a grandson's devotion to the power of writing, storytelling and his family's legacy.
* Author interviews in major broadsheet newspapers such as the Age and Sydney Morning Herald * Radio interviews on RN's Life Matters and local ABC radio * Widespread review coverage in major newspapers including the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday Paper and NZ Herald * Review coverage in literary and general publications such as the Monthly, Good Reading, North & South and NZ Listener * Widespread online review coverage on sites such as the Guardian and Sydney Review of Books * Review coverage and author features with local Jewish media * Author to appear at major literary festivals in 2017