The Retreat, by Aharon Appelfeld -1984 [Walter Brooks]

“You’re sitting by youself,” Lotte said in surprise.

“I can’t pull myself together.”

“It was a blow to us all,” said Lotte, in the way people say.

Lang bowed his head.  The expression on his thin, tormented face was one of boyish earnestness.

Lotte said, “He was different from the rest of us.”

“He was a completely simple man.  The final simplicity, I should say.  He understood that without a drastic change we have no hope, we’re lost.  And it all fell to pieces because the disciples rose against their mentor.  Believe me, madam, much will still be said against his simplicity.  How he tried to build a wall against the coming flood.  His vision was appallingly simple.  Isn’t simplicity one of the signs of greatness?”

– Aharon Appelfeld

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