... superbly translated ... We can be grateful to everyone involved. The Passenger is a riveting, noirish, intensely filmic portrait of an ambivalent fugitive ... The book is urgent, propulsive, often tragicomic, peppered with moments of absurdism and existential speculation, by turns Hitchcockian and Beckettian. It has the immediacy of a novel written in a hurry. But if the original was disordered, this new version is cohesive and beautifully paced ... With great verisimilitude, Boschwitz paints the portrait of a man riven with indecision and well-mannered panic as his options fall away ... Boschwitz is particularly good on the tussle between the new logic and the old order ... a jewel of a rediscovery: At once a deeply satisfying novel and a vital historical document—likely the first literary account, as Mr. Graf writes in his afterword, of Kristallnacht and its repercussions. Through the eyes of Otto Silbermann, we are thrust into the moment when politically legislated persecution tips into full-scale existential assault, our protagonist’s bewilderment morphing into terror and defiance as he tries to convince himself that the situation will surely get better.
Compelling though the real-life tale is, it’s surpassed by the story between the covers ... a story that is part John Buchan, part Franz Kafka and wholly riveting...It is also uncannily prescient ... Boschwitz was a shrewd observer of his time, but his story still resonates nearly a century later when antisemitism is on the rise once more and the exclusion of those who are different remains a pernicious constant across the globe. Besides, some of his insights are timeless ... a gripping novel that plunges the reader into the gloom of Nazi Germany as the darkness was descending. It deserved to be read when it was written. It certainly deserves to be read now.
... harrowing ... a major literary event ... offers an intimate portrait of Jewish life in prewar Nazi Germany at the onset of dehumanization, before the yellow star was imposed. What remains unsettling is how Boschwitz renders the mentality of Germany’s deeply assimilated Jews, who felt more German than Jewish, but ultimately understood the Nazis’ plans and sought to escape a horrific fate ... Boschwitz’s achievement is even more remarkable in light of his biography ... Boschwitz’s own story and devastating novel speak to the present — they are uncanny prophecies of our own time marked by the degradation of humanity in flight, searching for a place to call home.