Thomas Keneally

Australian novelist

Thomas Michael Keneally AO (born 7 October 1935) is an Australian, novelist playwright, and essayist. His best-known work, Schindler's Ark, won the Booker Prize and was adapted as the film Schindler's List directed by Steven Spielberg.

Thomas Keneally in 2012

Quotes

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From 1993 onwards, the book has been published under the title Schindler's List.
  • Fatal human malice is the staple of narrators, original sin the mother-fluid of historians. But it is a risky enterprise to have to write of virtue.
    • Prologue
  • In times like these, he said, it must be hard for the churches to go on telling people that their Heavenly Father cared about the death of even a single sparrow. He'd hate to be a priest, Herr Schindler said, in an era like this, when life did not have the value of a packet of cigarettes. Stern agreed but suggested, in the spirit of the discussion, that the Biblical reference Herr Schindler had made could be summed up by a Talmudic verse which said that he who saves the life of one man, saves the entire world.
  • The more Orthodox of the ghetto had a slogan—"An hour of life is still life."
    • Ch. 16
  • The list is an absolute good. The list is life. All round its cramped margins lies the gulf.
    • Ch. 31
  • In those uneasy two days, between the declaration of peace and its accomplishment, one of the prisoners, a jeweler named Licht, had been making a present for Oskar, something more expressive than the metal stud box he'd been given on his birthday. Licht was working with a rare quantity of gold. … Licht melted the gold down and by noon on May 8 was engraving an inscription on the inner circle in Hebrew. It was a Talmudic verse which Stern had quoted to Oskar in the front office of Buchheister's in October 1939. "He who saves a single life saves the world entire."

Miscellaneous

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  • Peter Thompson: Was one of the things that really attracted you to the story, the obvious moral ambiguity of Schindler?

    Tom Keneally: Absolutely, it was the fact that you couldn't say where opportunism ended and altruism began. And I like the subversive fact that the spirit breatheth where it will. That is that, good will emerged from the most unlikely places.

See also

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