I can’t post my usual quippy pics on this one. It’s the Holocaust.
What’s good under the hood: if you don’t know (or I suppose if you do) about Mengeles experiments on humans, particularly twins, you’ll be sufficiently horrified. It’s historically important and poignant. The prose is breath-taking and dreamy.
What’s bad or made me mad: not much. In places the dreamlike quality of the writing was hard to follow or repetitive but upon finishing the novel I note its value and technique. It’s definitely a more “literary” high brow, intelligent read.
You’ll like this book if you are a history buff and liked the books Night, Diary of Anne Frank, etc. If you’re like me and think “Ugh, I don’t know if I can stomach another sad book.” Give it a go – of course it’s sad. It’s the Holocause, but it’s worth it. You need to be sad sometimes.
You won’t like it if: You’re not in the mood for a serious book about serious issues. It’s the Holocaust. S@&t is gonna’ get real.
More ramblings: I don’t read extensively on the Holocaust as I have a bit of an obsessive personality. When I read my brain craves answers to one question: “Is this true (about Mengeles, etc)?” And thus begins Google search upon Google search. Hours of atrocities through research. Not a mentally fun place to be. This is how the book was disturbing.
Read Goodreads synopsis (above) so no rehashing here! Because of this inquisitive nature I now know a lot about Josef Mengele which I’d rather have OUT of my head, thank you . As an educator I know the importance of realistic historical fiction. It’s engaging and gives a viable perspective while protecting the reader through the thin veil of “fiction” as the label. Even though much of this story is true. Hauntingly real. Stays with the reader.
Yet another reaction I had was that the book was beautiful. It had a fantasy/dream-like quality to it that I thought was prosaically true. I can’t fathom being in the Holocaust, but I would imagine to survive many would need to dissociate into a dream-like world to survive. Decompartmentalize. Somehow I saw beauty in that realism. Sad beauty but beauty in a pure form.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Little, Brown & Co for an advanced copy in exchange for this honest review.