|About the Book|
This book jolted me. Its rare when I read a book literally from cover to cover...and close it nearly in tears. This was witten as France was being occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War, thus, this may well be the first fictional account of World War Two as it was happening. Needless to say, this is an immensely important book and in my opinion should be required reading in history classes. This is an unfinished work by a Russian-French author who died in Auschwitz before she could complete what she was hoping would be a novel-opus written in the style of a piece of music. This is definately an ambitious and frustrating read. But the readers must take in mind that this is an incomplete draft. As a writer, I enjoyed reading something unfinished. It was wonderful to be able to crawl into someones imaginative workings as they are happening with all the frayed bits left strung out. It helped me in assessing my own approach to the creative process and I think Ill be referring back to this novel time and again to get some pointers on plot devices and flow.As a story, this is flawed. If I was just giving points for the story itself I would only alot it three stars. The fourth is for the fact that the appendixs in the back as well as the forword to the French addition are utterly fascinating. This is a highly forgotten author and Im looking forward to reading more of her work. It pains me that this was never completed.*On a side note, I experienced a strange realization while reading this by finding out that the suburb of Paris where my girlfriends grandmother lives, Drancy, is the site of a former concentration camp.*This gives a fascinatingly detailed account of life during the French Occupation as it was happening through the eyes of a formerly (but that has never been known to stop Nazis) Jewish woman. She has a keen knack for expressing the human experience. The lives of those she describes are lives interrupted during war, whether it be French peasants or young, highly incompetent German soldiers in way over their heads. She described the young German soldiers with a tenderness and empathy I thought incredible. Thus, subverting their power by describing them as young boys caught up in something they have marginal understanding of. The most poignant scenes for me where those in which she described what happens to young people during wartime. How all the young French boys are away and the young girls secretly idolize their captors and their captors in turn court the young girls...after all theyre still teenagers. That to me, was heart-breaking. Reading this, over sixty years after it was written and in another pseudo war, makes me realize how useless the power displays of men playing king of the hill really are...especially when the lives of everyday people are involved.