In the first four pages of Cameron Pierce’s Ass Goblins of Auschwitz, a row of child slaves are molested, one by one, by a giant ass-shaped Nazi goblin. But by the time the main character pulls a bicycle made of other children out of his scrotum, this will not seem shocking.
Ass Goblins of Auschwitz was a difficult book to read. It’s been 80 years or so, but I think we can all say that the Holocaust still isn’t funny.
Ass Goblins could see a lot of heat from “Serious Literary People” for making a disgusting spectacle of one of the most horrifying events in recent history.
This is because Holocaust literature (art, film, drama) generally falls into the category of High Art. Although the subjects and scenes are sometimes horrifying, they are gravely serious and have a very clear purpose in a story with a message and a resolution. People don’t read (or write) these books or teach them in schools to terrify and disgust.
It’s mostly agreed upon that books as diverse as Number the Stars and Elie Weisel’s Night are inspiring, touching and beautiful. They are about the Holocaust but also about human courage and faith
The problem is that The Holocaust is not a touching and beautiful subject. I feel that you’re far off the mark if, while reading about people locked up like animals and tortured to death, you feel touched and inspired.
Pierce, who didn’t survive the Holocaust, is brave enough to make you feel what you should be feeling while reading about the Holocaust: disoriented, horrified, disgusted, and slightly ill.