Fans of author Oskar Klausenstock’s debut novel, “The Prayer,” are cheering. His second novel, “The Bribe” (published by iUniverse), has been released and is proving to be just as well-received as his first.
For Nathan Klein, a stroke is nothing compared to what is lying a few beds over from him in the rehabilitation hospital. It’s Gerhard Reichberg, a man he once feared above all others. Reichberg was once the Nazi commandant of the Jewish ghetto in Kostowa, Poland where 17-year old Klein lived during World War II. Refusing to speak to him, Klein decides to write Reichberg a letter, finally expressing his harbored hatred for him. To his surprise, Reichberg replies, and his answer is not at all what Klein expected.
What follows is a remarkable correspondence between two former enemies who learn that they have far more in common than they ever imagined, both caring the burden of guilt and suffering. Powerful and moving, “The Bride” personifies Anne Frank’s famous quote, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.”
An excerpt from “The Bribe”:
“I’m an old man now, dear Nathan, and I am still hounded by that image of a young maiden standing with her arms crossed, shielding her breasts, standing and waiting so utterly resigned. Looking back at that moment has been my self-flagellation all the years ever since that happened. I was young then, impetuous and heedless. Perhaps, I still am. God, how I wish I could undo that moment.”