The Kommandant’s Mistress

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The rumors spread by the Camp’s inmates, other Nazi officers, and the Kommandant’s own family insist that she was his “mistress,” but was she, voluntarily? Told from three different perspectives – that of the formerly idealistic Kommandant, the young Jewish inmate who captivates him, and the ostensibly objective historical biographies of the protagonists – this novel examines one troubling moral question over and over: if your staying alive was the only “good” during the War, if your survival was your sole purpose in this horrific world of the Concentration Camps — whether you were Nazi or Jewish — what, exactly, would you do to survive?  Would you lie, cheat, steal, kill, submit?

Flashing back and forth through the narrators’ memories as they recall their time before, during, and after the War, and leading, inevitably, to their ultimate, shocking confrontation, “Szeman’s uncompromising realism and superb use of stream-of-consciousness technique make [this novel] a chilling study of evil, erotic obsession, and the will to survive” (Publishers Weekly * review).

New York Times Book Review “Notable Book” and one of its “Top 100 Books of the Year,”  Winner of the University of Rochester’s Kafka Prize for “the outstanding book of prose fiction by an American woman,” the tales told by the Kommandant, his “mistress,” and their “biographer” will mesmerize and stun you, leaving you wondering, at the conclusion, which, if any, is telling the complete truth about what happened between them.

◊ New York Times Book Review “Notable Book”
and “Top 100 Books of Year”
◊ University of Rochester Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize
“the outstanding book of prose fiction by an American woman”
◊ Publishers Weekly (* review) “Outstanding Merit”
◊ Talmadge McKinney Award “Excellence in Research”

Read an excerpt (chapters 1-3) from
The Kommandant’s Mistress

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Editorial description of The Kommandant’s Mistress, Revised & Expanded, 20th Anniversary Edition © 1993, 1994, 2000, 2012 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman & RockWay Press. May not be reprinted or excerpted without written permission. Please do not support piracy of Intellectual Property.

(1st edition published by HarperCollins 1993; Harper Perennial 1994)
(originally published under pseudonym “Sherri” Szeman)

(2nd edition published by Arcade 2000)
(includes translations of Verdi’s La Traviata)
(originally published under pseudonym “Sherri” Szeman)