A Tale of One January (unabridged)

Audio Sample

Albert Maltz

A Tale of One January

Read by Rupert Degas


Poland, January 1945. Two women and four men escape from a Nazi death march after enduring the horrors of imprisonment at Auschwitz. Despite their individual backgrounds and nationalities, they form their own family caught between the euphoria of freedom and the terror of their circumstances. This is a tale of exploding joy within a hothouse of fear, of human beings erupting into life after breaking free of death’s embrace – an unusual and moving tale that cements Albert Maltz’s reputation as a compassionate observer of character and one of the finest storytellers of his generation.

Read by the versatile AudioFile Golden Voice, Rupert Degas, and including the music that features within the story.

  • Running Time: 5 h 49 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-505-2
    Cat. no.:NA0616
    Edited by:Timothy Brown and Sarah Butcher
    Text:A Tale of One January text first published by Calder Publications in January 1967 (the original copyright page states ‘1966’). This revised edition first published by Calder Publications in 2023. © The Estate of Albert Maltz, 1967, 2023. Introduction © Patrick Chura and Alma Books, 2023. Audiobook published with permission from Alma Books Ltd
    Released:January 24
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A screenwriter and novelist blacklisted for his involvement with the Communist Party and jailed for refusing to testify about it, Maltz (The Cross and the Arrow) based his final novel on his 1960 interviews with a Ukrainian Holocaust survivor, Dounia Wasserstrom. It follows two women (Lini and Claire) and four men (Otto, Jurek, Andrej, and Norbert) who in 1945 escape from a Nazi death march and take refuge in an abandoned Polish factory. Though they are emaciated and traumatized, speak different languages, and come from different backgrounds, the group unites with a grimly celebratory air. As they share their stories and care for one another, they cautiously allow long-suppressed emotions, from joy to desire to sorrow, to surface. Narrator Rupert Degas provides a stunning performance, employing shifts in tone and pacing to communicate all that is not said – a hesitation when Otto recognizes the severity of Claire’s frozen foot, the palpable anguish when the group glimpses themselves in a mirror. Degas’s accent work is superb, moving gracefully from Russian to German to Polish to French, while allowing Maltz’s words rather than performative flourishes to take center stage. VERDICT: A brief but powerful listen, highlighting human connections and resilience in unthinkable circumstances. This novel deserves a place in every audio fiction collection.

Sarah Hashimoto, Library Journal

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