Hirschmann’s debut short story collection, A House Too Small, features seven stories focusing on the different effects on those who lived through the Holocaust, or the Shoah’s lasting influence on their descendants. Set in Israel to South Africa, the stories illustrate the Holocaust’s worldwide impact on all those involved. Overall, Hirschmann’s writing pulls the reader in, and captures our attention and hearts. He prefaces each story with a quotation giving the reader a sense of the tale we are about to read.
Jews are not featured in every story, as is the case with the story “Lady Dorothy’s Dilemma,” which features a wealthy, alcoholic widow living in South Africa trying to mentally escape the consequences of her husband’s actions in the War.
With this story and others, Hirschmann effectively jumps from his protagonist’s present to past events. “A House Too Small” brutally recounts the torture a young Jewish endured, and the effects it has on her marriage as an adult living in America. The most emotionally compelling and heart-wrenching story of the collection, “The Clairvoyant,” tells the story of a Christian composer’s rape of a Jewish maidservant. The composer makes the decision to protect his Jewish child, and must come to terms with the terrible atrocities he has committed.
A House Too Small dramatically represents how the Shoah is very much a living memory within the Jewish people. This collection is a gem of a book from a new author, who delivers fresh, emotional narratives.