Anatoli Rybakov Paul Ableman - Essay

Paul Ableman

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Heavy Sand is a contemporary Russian novel written not by a dissident but by an established Soviet author….

Rybakov, himself a Jew, is quoted as saying: 'I wanted to show the Jews as people like any other …' and this aspiration contains the seeds of much that is wrong with his book. A work of art is unlikely to result from the attempt to validate a proposition. Moreover, it is a false proposition. The Jews are not 'a people like any other'. Nor, for that matter, are the Russians or the English or the heathen Chinee. Each 'people' thinks of itself as distinctive and certainly has objective distinctive qualities, however determined. In fact, the notion that the Jews are 'a people like any...

(The entire section is 750 words.)