Jakov Lind 1927–
(Pseudonym of Heinz Landwirth) Austrian novelist, short story writer, dramatist, and scriptwriter.
Lind is a powerfully expressive writer who is best known for his horrific portraits of human depravity. His is a bleak vision of the world, one in which there is no morality or reason and in which the bizarre is commonplace. As evidence for the truth of this vision, much of Lind's fiction points to and chronicles the Holocaust and the tragic events that occurred in Central Europe during World War II. He sees the mass extermination of the Jews and the horrors of the war as proof that cannibalism is basic to human nature and that humans crave violence and death. In works that are said to go "beyond nihilism," Lind combines realism with black humor and the grotesque to portray the modern individual as one who seeks neither to redeem or be redeemed.
Lind's own wartime experiences as a Jew form the basis of his vision and are recorded throughout his fiction. Born in Vienna, he lost his parents during the Nazi invasion of Austria and at the age of eleven was sent to Holland by a Zionist refugee group to escape persecution. After the Nazis invaded Holland, he obtained false documents and fled to Germany where he successfully masqueraded as a Nazi. After the war, Lind emigrated to Palestine. He returned to Europe in 1950 and wandered there for several years. Since the late 1950s, Lind has lived primarily in England. These travels and experiences weave their way in and out of Lind's work. His viewpoint is that of the alienated outsider, an exile forced by fate to witness a civilization devolving into madness. Fluent in six languages, Lind abandoned German to write in English in the late 1960s. Critics view this as evidence of the ambivalent feelings he has for Germany and for his past.
Lind's most renowned works are the short stories collected in Eines Seels aus Holz (1964; Soul of Wood and Other Stories) and his first novel, Landschaft in Beton (1966; Landscape in Concrete). In both of these works, Lind uses the grotesque in a Kafkaesque fashion in combination with realism to demonstrate the barbarism of the Nazis and the events of World War II. Lind's dark vision of the world is fully developed in these books which have cannibalism and perversity as their recurring themes. Critics praise the vivid imaginativeness of Soul of Wood and Landscape in Concrete and respect their depth of feeling. Lind's later work includes a three volume autobiography and the recent novel, Travels to the Enu (1982). The latter, the first of Lind's novels to be written in English, is reminiscent of Jonathon Swift's Gulliver's Travels. It satirizes postwar Western civilization.
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 2, 4; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 9-12, rev. ed.; and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 7.)