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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Contemporary Holocaust Fiction

What Messages Do Holocaust Novels Convey?
 
This blog is an update to my review of books with Holocaust themes and my reflections on the messages they convey. I most recently read
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. The plot centers on Josef and Lenka, two young lovers, and how their lives are shattered by the Nazi invasion of Prague.
The story details how their rapturous memories of one another are frozen in time. Richman vividly and poignantly portrays the horrors of the Holocaust and the emotional suffering inflicted on the survivors for the rest of their lives. The book ends decades later when they meet, by chance, at a wedding in New York. That’s where the tale ends rather abruptly.  The reader is left wanting to know more about Josef’s and Lenka’s conflicting feelings when reunited after so many years.


Prague, Czech Republic
VIEW OF PRAGUE

I am also in the midst of reading Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner. It’s not a Holocaust novel. I wanted to read it because it is the runner-up for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The Rohr Prize is awarded for the important role of emerging writers in examining the Jewish Experience. I’m half way through the story and have yet to find how the book examines the Jewish experience. Thinking that perhaps I had missed something, I read Erika Dreifus’ review on her blog at:

Erika Dreifus Blog

 
To return to the question posed at the beginning: Does Holocaust fiction serve to fuel hate against the collective perpetrators of evil, or as warning to never give in to hatred? In balance, do they fill us with despair, or with hope for the future of humanity?  I believe that well-written, well-researched books about the Holocaust provide real insight into how ordinary people—like ourselves, our family, our friends and neighbors can easily be caught in a vicious web of deceit and destruction—if we are not vigilant. These stories become more important with the passing of time, because they goad and inspire us to find the courage and integrity to speak out before it is too late. 

 
For more my more detailed reviews of the other Holocaust novels see:
 
Children of Fire by Ursula Hegi.
In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack
The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal
The Nine Inheritors: The Extraordinary Odyssey of A Family and Their Ancient Torah Scroll.
 
 
Send Comments to Claire Datnow: cldatnow@me.com