Based on the author’s own experience, as a teenage partisan interned in a concentration camp in his native Bulgaria, this book paints a vivid picture of the harsh realities of the daily routine. A varied cast of characters – ranging from sadistic paramilitaries to skeletal inmates engaged in a grotesque struggle for survival – is brought vividly to life. The style is terse, direct and uncompromising, making no concessions to sentimentality and eschewing conventional literary flourishes. Interspersed in the text there are quotations from various religious sources – Jewish, Christian, and mystical – underlining the author’s belief in the survival of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
"It is rare to encounter such compelling book - a book that contains so many overwhelming emotions, an ethereal, poetic and yet earthly prose, Indeed… Athar is a unique work. …an unforgettable book of such tremendous quality" W. R. Helms, The New Press, US
"'Athar' is without doubt a remarkable novel - poetic, tough, moving and disturbing. I admired it greatly…Shlomo Kalo's wonderful work." I. Pereira, Bloomsbury, UK