No Choice But To Believe It

Continuous rain seeped from sunless slate skies throughout the day. In an attempt to look forward to drier times we visited Redcliffe Nurseries and bought three planters to replace those cracked by earlier frost. They remain in the boot of the car.

There is a limit to how many photographs one can produce of waterlogged terrain, roads, and lanes, so we came straight home. After attending to more administration relating to the French sale, I devoted the afternoon to finishing reading Thomas Keneally’s Booker McConnell prizewinning book, ‘Schindler’s Ark’.

Keneally’s author’s note suggests that it would be incorrect to regard this as an historical novel. He states that he has chosen to use the “texture and devices of a novel to tell a true story”, and that he has “attempted to avoid all fiction”. The story is so incredible that I constantly referred back to this.

The author’s research has been painstaking, and he has faithfully represented the multiple aspects of Schindler’s character. The story is perhaps better known through Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed cinematic adaptation renamed Schindler’s List. I have not seen the film, and frankly, after reading Keneally’s work, don’t think I could bear it. The author, with most credible sources, tells us how it was to live through the holocaust. Many of those of my generation have always thought the details of this period beggar belief. Keneally gives you no choice but to believe it. It has sustained, awesome, power, not the least in describing the rigid bureaucratic machinery that enabled the rigid administration of merciless lives and deaths to continue absorbing immense resources, even as the Third Reich was failing on all overambitious fronts. Maybe that was the ultimate malignant madness. The extermination of millions of human beings took priority over the aim of world domination.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, new potatoes, carrots, and runner beans, with which I drank more of the Casillero del Diablo. I had photographed our meal, but after what I have just written, can’t bring myself to publish it.