My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am not exactly sure what to say about this book. It affected me in multiple ways all at once.
To begin with, after reading the blurb, I would honestly consider the story to be ‘unrealistic’ if it wasn’t actually based on a real story. Putting the words ‘Holocaust fiction’ and ‘hopeful’ in the same sentence feels weird to me. Not that it was all rainbows and butterflies- the book made me angry and made me cry, but inspite of it all, the over all narrative is necessarily that of survival and hope. The story begins off a little… tentatively, for the lack of a better word, but things got quite horrifying at around half way into the book. I haven’t read many WWII-related books that are actually set within a concentration camp and shows the inner workings of such a place, and I get why it would be controversial to do so.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in this book, however, was the way Morris portrays the characters. Lale’s determination to live and Gita’s courage is undeniably inspiring to read about, but I especially like how even the other characters are all very well defined. What makes the book more convincing as a narration of a true story is perhaps its depiction of morally grey characters. Both Lale and the reader search for even a speck of humanity within this harsh world with bated breath.
The language of the book is very simple and almost matter of fact. Personally, this was one of my problems with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, but it is also the reason why I can recommend this book to a wider audience.
I’m sorry this review is so all over the place and not organized enough, but this book raised some complicated thoughts that I can’t seem to arrange more coherently. It blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction, and I can’t judge it with the usual features of either of the genres. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading Holocaust fiction (or non-fiction?), and to those who are willing to read a moving book set in a terrifying reality but ends up, unexpectedly, being a love story.
Thank you HarperCollins India for a copy of this book.