The Severed Wing

Martin J. Gidron

Co-winner 2002 Sidewise award!!!


Typically, alternate history/universe novels offer a relatively happy version of history: what if Babbage had been able to perfect his difference engine and make computers readily available in Victorian England? What if Texas had declared itself a nation under Sam Houston? This novel, too, offers such a delightful excursion—momentarily. For the novel’s premise—that World War I ended much sooner, thereby avoiding the harsh Versailles Treaty, which thereby avoided the rise of Nazi Germany and its Holocaust—is fated to be only a temporary vision in young Janusz Spiegelman’s mind. The world Janusz inhabits is one that might have been, had millions of Jews not perished, one that would have been filled with their progeny. But this world is disappearing; it is daily returning to the grim reality of the Holocaust. In grim proof, every day in Janusz’s life sees more of his Jewish co-workers, friends, and acquaintances disappear; more Jewish establishments disappear—vanish completely. As we share Janusz’s harrowing, surreal experience, we are once more reminded of the vastness of the Holocaust.

ISBN 0-942979-96-6, trade paper, $14.95                Sale $7.50

ISBN 0-942979-97-4, library bind., $26.00                Sale $13.00

224 Pages

About the Author: 

Martin J. Gidron grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1991 with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. He lived in Israel for six years, returning to the United States in 1997. He is married with two children and lives in Maryland, where he works as a journalist. Gidron's poetry has appeared in Voices Israel, Jewish Currents, and Dragonfly: East-West Haiku Quarterly. A short story, The Tallis, has been published in Jewish Currents.

 Excerpt From the Book:

    I may not have much time. I stole this notebook and the pen I am using to write in it from a kiosk yesterday; by tomorrow I may be gone. Not dead, but gone.
    Actually, I tried to pay for the notebook. I really did. I asked the owner how much; he said 1,500 drachmas; I reached into my pocket for the coins, and there were no coins in my pocket, no pocket in my pants, no hand to reach in with. Then the kiosk owner was looking through me—literally through me, and he stretched out his hand where my chest had been to take money from someone standing behind me. I seemed to blink, and when I opened my eyes again it was the middle of the night and I was alone inside the darkened kiosk. So I took the notebook, the pen, and some candy and got out somehow.
    I am sitting at a café table overlooking the Aegean Sea as I write this. The waitress smiles at me, places my cup of café au lait on the table before me with a delicate gesture. She is short, with olive skin and black eyes, and may the God who does not exist forgive me, she reminds me somehow of Irena. I feel an overwhelming urge to throw myself on her, scatter her tray, send the dirty glasses tinkling to bits on the stone terrace. After all, it would not matter. In a while, it will never have been.
    But I do nothing. It would be futile. I watch the waitress remove her graceful hand, watch the golden sun blaze down over the Aegean, feel the pages of this notebook, taste the coffee with its cream and sugar. And I am not afraid. I am not afraid. The word does not match my reality.
    These blanks in my existence are getting longer. After I wrote the last sentence my hand slipped through the table, and now it is dawn of the next day. I think it is dawn of the next day. Sometimes, even when I am solid, I am not I; I wander the streets and the Greeks think I am a mad American…