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Schram, Irene

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1941-    ) US poet and author, her active publishing career extending from 1966 to 1974. Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down (1972) is a Fabulation in which hints of a possible Holocaust – a sudden massive fall of incinerator ash in an unnamed city identical to New York – are transubstantiated into fable as a group of ten-year old children, escaping what their teacher thinks is simply a Pollution event, find themselves imprisoned in a labyrinthine Keep, where an impersonal bureaucracy of guards, aided by deadly changes in the physical configuration of the vast "hotel" they occupy, kills most of them. The story, told mostly by one of the children, ends when the notebook she is writing in fills up. She is unable to understand the slaughter, which is continuing. There is no exit (see Horror in SF). Her narrative has some of the terror-stricken, surreal objectivity of the Holocaust Fiction of Aharon Appelfeld (1932-2018), and the incinerator ash may be understood as a marker of Schram's intended reading of her only novel. [JC]

Irene Schram

born New York: 1941



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