Aharon Appelfeld, seen in a 2010 photo in France, wrote fiction about the Holocaust but rejected the label of Holocaust writer. (Ulf Andersen/Getty Images) NEW YORK (JTA) — Arguably the world’s greatest writer of fiction about the world’s foremost nonfiction atrocity, the Holocaust, died Thursday in Israel. Aharon Appelfeld, a Holocaust survivor himself and one of the icons of Israel’s first generation, was 85. No writer captured and reclaimed the lost world of European Jewish life with as much imaginative intensity and heartfelt longing. The author of over 40 books, written in Hebrew and translated around the world, he was the recipient of the State of Israel Prize for Literature in 1983, and a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013. Like the surreal events that shaped him, however, Appelfeld was a writer of great elusiveness and paradox. While he was known as a Holocaust writer, a label he rejected, he was also a man, and a fiction writer, who was nearly impossible to categorize. After all, he was orphaned at 8 years old when his mother was murdered by the Nazis and he and his father were sent to a concentration camp in what is now […]