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Reviews

THE LIGHT AFTER THE DARK I and II
WHY, ZAIDA?
THE UNLIKELY VICTIMS
STORIES I WROTE

 

The Light After the Dark I THE LIGHT AFTER THE DARK series The Light After the Dark II

The Canadian Jewish News: Toronto, Ontario

The six stores from the Holocaust in his volume are unusual and engrossing. Like many others of a similar nature they contain much that is appalling and evil, a degradation of the spirit. But they are also a testimony to human fortitude, hope, courage and inspiration. Out of darkness came forth light and out of despair flowed renewal and redemption. Alvin Abram has fashioned a book to be cherished. It both nourishes and enlarges the spirit.

Rabbi Bernard Baskin

 

The Carillon: University of Regina, Saskatchewan

Abram wrote the first story in 1982 for his friends' children. He had no idea then that the story would turn into a book. In total he wrote 16 stories, three that were later set aside and it wasn't until 1994 that he got the idea for this collection. Abram didn't want to dwell on the horrors, but to tell the personal stories instead. "The stories I wrote were about the individual, what he or she had to survive during that particular period," says Abram. The idea was that Abram was going to do two books no matter what. The first one had to be written and it had to make such an impact that there would be a need for a second follow up. It's an emotional experience, it's not something I can do for long intervals. I do it in short intervals because I usually break down. Some of the things they say are horrific. I'm more interested in the inside story, the story within the story. If no one approaches me about book two, I'll self-publish. I'm convinced it'll sell. This one cost nothing, so I have nothing to lose."

Erin Hidlebaugh

 

The Jewish Post & News: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Alvin Abram is a storyteller and author, an active member of the Canadian Jewish community. In The Light After the Dark, Alvin Abram tells six true stories of men and women who lived through the horror of the Holocaust. In his foreword to the book, Irving Abella writes, "Above all, these are stories of inspiration, of the indomitability of the human spirit and of the refusal to surrender to the cruelties of that dreadful moment in history." The simple, first-hand telling of these stories offers a remarkable look into the horror it would have been to live them. In each case, we meet the characters before the horrors begin, and follow them until ultimately, they find their way to Canada. Maps and photos are included with each story and help the reader to settle into each new narrative. There is a glossary in the back of the book, as well as listings of the historic people and places mentioned. These stories enlarge our understanding of both history and humanity. Irving Abella writes that books like this one are profoundly important. I agree. This testimony is powerful and moving--a most worthwhile read.

Bob Hopkins

 

The Jewish Tribune: Toronto, Ontario

"I was a story teller, not a story writer," explains Alvin Abram the author of The Light After the Dark, but after being approached by the children of several Holocaust survivors to record their parents' stories, Mr. Abram had a book on his hands. After four years of writing researching and verifying information, The Light After the Dark gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of seven astonishing men and women who overcame insurmountable odds to forge thriving and meaningful lives in Canada. This book shows us that the survivors are but merely victims of their time, but heroes in their response to the situation, and that the act of surviving is enough to generate the feeling that these are heroes worthy of recognition. Michael Kutz reminds us that "to forget and forgive is not an answer--remembering is." This is what The Light After the Dark helps us to do.

Leslie Young

 

The Leader Post: Regina, Saskatchewan

Abram is the author of The Light After the Dark: Six Stories of Courage and Survival (Key Porter Books), in which he relates true-life accounts of men and women who lived through the Holocaust. A graphic designer and printer by trade, the Toronto-born Abram collected and published these poignant and inspiring stories in hopes that "they would change the perspective of people who hear them." All royalties are donated to charity, Abram says. "I believe, very strongly, that love and understanding are important. "The attraction, I believe, is that these stories are positive. Each of them has a happy ending," Abram says. "I think it was a healing process, for the people who told these stories, and that's very satisfying for me."

Nick Miliokas

 

London Jewish Community News: London, Ontario

If there is one single thought common to historians and students of the Holocaust it is the determination that such an event can never be allowed to happen again. For an increasing number of survivors, one way of preventing this lies in retelling the stories of their own or other people's experiences while they still can do so, thus creating a record for future generations. Abram must have needed infinite patience to draw the details of each of these stories from their narrators. He has certainly exerted all his talents in retelling them, using a flashback technique to set the scene for each one, but otherwise letting the stories of the individuals' Holocaust experiences and subsequent lives speak for themselves.

Susan Merskey

 

Jerusalem Post: Israel

We knew her as The General, and we made fun of her. But we didn't know, we didn't know. She was a tough, humorless old woman; small and funny-looking to us kids frolicking free on Prince Charles Street. Children can be cruel, but it wasn't just us who made fun of her. Behind her back, our parents called her The General too. No one knew.

Continued on the next page

Sam Orbaum

 

York University Gazette: Toronto, Ontario

Author Alvin Abram tells stories that defy logical explanations, stories of chance and circumstance, stories that he calls "miracles of fate". His book, The Light After the Dark, Key Porter Books, is now in its third printing and tells some remarkable stories: one, who at the age of ten, was buried alive with 10,000 Jews, escaped and lived to fight the invaders of his country.

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WHY, ZAIDA?WHY, ZAIDA?

The Canadian Jewish News: Toronto, Ontario

The book "Why, Zaida?" by Alvin Abram, illustrated by Judy Willemsma, talks about that kind of person--a grandfather who talks about the Holocaust only after his grandson asks and asks. Nevertheless, the grandfather has to answer his grandson. He does this with the time-honoured technique of parables, stories that help teach a lesson--a robin eating a worm, a dog chasing a squirrel, a leaf caught in a stream, a grassy bank. Every page has beautiful illustrations in lush greens, blues and browns.

Leila Speisman

 

Jewish Free Press: Calgary, Alberta

Author uses metaphors from nature to explain the Holocaust. Why, Zaida explains the brutality of the unnamed Nazi regime and its collaborators by drawing another analogy as they see a dog attempting to prey on a squirrel. Likewise, he likens evil to weeds, which threatens the good grass if left unchecked. Alvin Abram's sensitive exploration is beautifully illustrated by Judy Willemsma. Interspersed with illustrations and text are the Yiddish words for Why, Zaida? . . . Abram generalizes the story--perhaps to provide a gentle more universal approach to young readers first being introduced to the potentially traumatic subject matter.

Maxine Fischbein

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The Unlikely Victims THE UNLIKELY VICTIMS

When reading this first rate mystery, one might think that this story will be character driven and short change the setting. However the opening paragraph sets the scene. The author uses beautiful language and creates haunting images fulfilling the reader's thirst for vividly painted backdrop against which the characters can play out their dramas.

Victoria Lorrekovich, USA

 

I loved the ending. How powerful! It's so true in life that we end up crossing paths with people in ways that defy logic and truly make us feel the presence of a Higher Power orchestrating it all. All of your stories bring this point home and have a very positive perspective as well as being entertaining with excellent twists. You truly are gifted - can't wait for more. I'm passing the book among my friends, so you'll have a following in the New York area.

Marjorie Lang, USA

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Stories I Wrote STORIES I WROTE

The Eugene Joseph Story: For the most part, the words never got in the way of the story. This is more difficult than it sounds. The writer has an obvious natural gift for narrative. I was never lost.

Philip G. Schloss, USA

Touched by Love: The author's short story of love, choices and honest truth will fill your heart with emotion. By the second paragraph you will be connected to the characters and not only care what happens to them but you will be awaiting their next move with anticipation. The author allows the reader to visualize the events as they unfold and lets you into their lives. The beautiful relationship that is portrayed in this story is the best I have read in a long time.

Miriam Porter: Producer/Actor, Canada

Road Rage: What a keen sense of perception. A vivid picture in the mind's eye that anyone who ever felt at their wit's end can identify. The author places the reader right in the car, embroiled in the emotional suspense, then expand the character's humanness before adding the final twist of irony. A must-read, thought provoking page turner.

Marjorie Lang, USA

Road Rage: Married twenty years and nagging him for ten, this dull man found a way of tuning his wife out. He had allowed a boring life full of 'yes dears' to fill him with hatred. His feeble excuses, 'I am no social animal and I am too tired,' had driven her to seek permanent attention by driving him crazy. Was he just lost on his way to her sister's or had he lost the plot of life - a realistic story with a twisted ending.

Susanna Weiner, England

A Stitch in Time: It was easy to visualize the dynamics between the mother and the son. I felt I was in the room with them. The scene also took me back to a vivid scene in my own memory . . . which made me smile and cry. Nice story!

Gloria Claman, Canada

Forbidden: I was impressed with this original love story most forbidden, but so vivid as well as exotic between a Jewish woman and a gentile.

Arie Shevy-Shibi, Israel

Kugler: Wonderful usage of actual events. Definitely a good understanding of history. Brought a few tears and a sniffle upon first reading.

M. Goatham,USA

Kugler: A very good story, overall. Wonderful usage of actual events. Definitely a very good understanding of history as shown by the case which elements were added to the work. Brought a few tears and a sniffle upon first reading.

Ashley Lange,USA

Flight: You tell a good story. It's intriguing and makes you want to keep reading. I liked how you moved back and forth in time. That builds interest.

Terry Ward, USA

The Credit Card Caper: I found to be a quickly engaging story with a nice easy flow. The characters are well portrayed, the plot is smooth and clean, the humour is fun!

Carolyn Nielsom, USA

Jonas: The Baker: The best I've read anywhere for a long time. It was an absolute joy to read. Sir, you are an excellent writer.

Mike West, USA

Touched by Love: A thoughtfully written piece about an unexpected pregnancy and the parallel love between a man and a woman told from a male perspective.

Sasha Nicole, USA

Ta-Ta-T-A-Ta: I have to say I really like your prose. It has a maturity that's refreshing to see. Your opening is nice, setting the mood, the loneliness, fear, reluctance of the situation at hand.

Clair Anderson, USA

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