Saturday, December 21, 2013

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival

Written by: Louise Murphy

First line: Caught between green earth and blue sky, only truth kept me sane, but now lies disturb my piece.

Why you should read this book: Set in the waning, starving, terror-filled days at the dragging end of World War II, in small village on the edge of a dark forest in Poland, this is the story of a Jewish family forced into hiding as they flee Nazi atrocities. Told to forsake their given names and pose as Christians, Hansel and Gretel survive by the grace of a kind-hearted outcast and her unusual family in a twist on the now-familiar hidden-child story, while their father and stepmother join the partisans and engage in guerrilla warfare with the Germans. Death and horror no longer lurk in the darkness but walk openly through the village and the forests, destroying without reason or thought.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Atrocity. More atrocity. Pain, suffering, and further atrocity. I get why it's important to read Holocaust narratives, but I will never, ever understand the appeal of Holocaust fiction. Nothing nice happens in this book, but it's got 297 pages of bad things that the author created and set loose into the world for some purpose.

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