Based on an incredible true story of love and endurance.
Fresh from reading The Nightingale, I couldn't read any other simple novel. I needed a book that was seriously written and about lives of people. I simply couldn't put The Nightingale down and I was searching for another novel of comparison. I came across Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani in my collection of unread books but I was disappointed. To put it very simply, it was just too simple. Sorry Ms Badani but your other novel The Storyteller's Secret was well written. Fortunately, I had a good mind to buy The Tatooist of Aushwitz during my last visit to a local book store. And I was hooked! I actually finished the novel in 3 days much to the exclamations of my teen daughters who went 'How can you read so fast?!'
This novel is a beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage and is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov--an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
"The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they'd read a hundred Holocaust stories or none."--Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism--but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
Overall rating : B+
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is by far the best historical fiction I have read in a long time. Its the Feb read of our National Museum of Singapore (NMS) book club which we have just formed in Dec 2019. I'm part of another book club consisting of friends and book lovers in the east of Singapore. But who says you can't be part of more than 1 book club?
Anyways, The Nightingale is a story of 2 sisters Viann and Isabelle who each strive through their journey of self discovery in German occupied war torn France during WW2 between 1942-1945. While one is a passive follow the rules kind of sibling, the other is a rebel who abores authority and joins the resistance, ignoring all the risks and dangers involved, to fight for France.
The entire novel is very well written and every page is a page turner. Historical fictions aren't always a crowd favourite and I assumed that this novel won't be much of a black sheep.But alas, I was so wrong! Instead of a dry boring dreading to read kind of a novel, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. As I always say, fiction though being fictatious must be believable.
Its the New York Times number one bestselling title. Vivid and exquisite in its illumination of a time and place that was filled with atrocities, but also humanity and strength, The Nightingale will provoke thought and discussion that will have you talking long after you finish reading.
Bravery, courage, fear and love in a time of war.
Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.
As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.
The novel is a small paperback, easy to carry around. Consists of 531 pages spread over 39 chapters. Told from a perspective of one of the sisters as a flashback to the terrifying times. I was a little surprised when I found out which of the sister was telling the story at the end of the novel. Lets see if you are too!
Overall rating : A+