LitPicks Book Reviews—June 2008

Theme—War Torn Lives
Lives and families and communities torn apart by World War II. This month's stories are tales of survival—of a German girl, French men and women, and a Jewish boy in Auschwitz. At times grim, each story offers a transcendent vision of humanity.
 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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The Book Thief
Marcus Zusak, 2005
552 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
June 2008

Hard to believe, but Random House classified this as a juvenile work—and librarians dutifully shelved it in Young Adult sections.  But now they're now moving it over into Adult Fiction—as so many of the 30-and-counting-crowd have come love it!

The Book Thief is the story of a young girl living with a foster family, from 1941-44, in Molching, Germany, a village outside Munich and home to the Dachau concentration camp.

 

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Suite Francaise
Irene Nemirovsky, 1941; published, 2004; Eng. trans., 2006
448 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
June 2008

Suite Francaise is especially poignant because of its legendary background: author Irene Nemirovsky died at Auschwitz in 1942; 60 years later, her manuscript was rediscovered by one of her daughters.

All this is set forth in the two appendices, which make for as gripping a story as Nemirovsky's fiction. It's hard to read Suite Francaise without that background knowledge breaking through.
 
Labels: Great Works

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Night
Elie Wiesel, 1958
144 pp

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
June 2008

One could write a great deal about this book—the first ever published from a concentration camp survivor. But whatever I write will seem trite compared to the words Elie Wiesel has written.

In a slender volume, Wiesel relates his experience as a young boy as he and his family are transported from their village in Hungary to Auschwitz in Poland. "Transported" does no justice to the horror of that journey—or what comes later.
 

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