Set in Vienna shortly after the Nazi occupation of 1938, Emil and Karl explores the friendship of two young boys-Karl (a Christian, with Socialist parents) and Emil (a Jew). The boys are inseparable friends whose fathers have been killed, and who have only each other after both their mothers are dragged away by the authorities.
Yankev Glatshteyn’s novel reflects the climate of fear he encountered on a visit to Europe in 1934. His depiction of how the two young boys survive, and the stories of those who aid them in their plight, adds new depth and insight into our understanding of an oft-depicted time. Emil and Karl is a wrenching story laced with humiliation, horror, love and incredible courage. Initially published in Yiddish, and first published in English in 2006, Emil and Karl has been beautifully translated by Jeffrey Shandler.