Jacob the Liar

Jacob The Liar

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Jacob the Liar

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Jacob the Liar is a novel written by the East German author Jurek Becker published in 1969. The German original title is Jakob der Lügner. Becker was awarded the Heinrich-Mann Prize (1971) and the Charles Veillon Prize (1971) after the publication of his bestseller.

The novel was made into two films, Jacob, the Liar (1975) by Frank Beyer, which was nominated for Best foreign language film at the Academy Awards, and Jakob the Liar (1999), a Hollywood production starring Robin Williams.

Jacob the Liar was first translated into English by Melvin Kornfeld in 1975, but without Becker's input. A new English translation was made in 1990 by Leila Vennewitz and Becker, published in 1996 it won the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize.

Plot summary

The novel follows the life of the Jewish protagonist Jacob Heym in the ghetto of Łódź, Poland during the German occupation of World War II. Jacob met an 8 year old girl named Lina, whose parents were both killed and who is hidden from the Germans after escaping from the camp transport train.

While walking around the ghetto near the time of curfew, Jacob is suddenly stopped by a bored-seeming German officer on a patrol. The officer pretends that the Jewish curfew of 8 pm has already passed, and sends the hapless Jacob to the police station. Jacob obeys him submissively and is followed by the sentinel's flashlight. He arrives at the station where he hears radio news reporting about the approach of the Red Army. Miraculously, Jacob is...
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