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the sequel to the fable of the Nazi era Boy in striped pajamas John Boyne’s latest installment follows the life of Gretel, the older sister of the original novel’s nine-year-old protagonist, Bruno.
Gretel, now a 91-year-old widow, lives in an apartment in Mayfair. Her stable life, largely untroubled by her son’s many marriages and the cognitive decline of her neighbor Heidi, is disturbed by the appearance of strangers. new neighbors.
The book flips back and forth between present-day London and mid-1940s Paris, the city from which Gretel and her mother fled after the fall of the Empire and the execution of the family patriarch, the warden of Auschwitz.
Self-proclaimed natives of Nantes (a city unnoticed for its German accent), the pair attempt to navigate post-war life in the traumatized city.
Then we see Gretel move to Australia. There, she stumbles across a figure from her hidden past, who confronts her with her own complicity and a constant fascination with the Third Reich.
When Gretel runs to London, she meets Edgar, the historian she will marry.
The plot is intertwined with Gretel’s present-day journeys with her neighbors – a charming but troubled actress ex-mother, a cartoon bossy father, and their sassy son. – another nine-year-old boy.
Unlike Boy in striped pajamas, this is clearly not an allegory. Just when we think it’s a realistic portrait of a woman who has spent her life hiding and accepting her role in the Holocaust, there’s a rather complicated narrative plot. It is hard to imagine that a girl who witnessed an SS officer beat to death a Jewish servant at the family dinner table and Auschwitz tour participants missed the fact that her lover her London home is Jewish, for example.
The dialogue is sometimes natural, at other times, jarring and performative. As soon as she met Gretel for the first time, her newest daughter-in-law, a heart surgeon, spoke about a sense of guilt over a patient’s death that made anyone question her abilities. her health and sanity. Characters frequently question whether others are “going crazy” as an explanation for the odd dialogue.
However, I devoured this book, mistakes and all. Gretel is a fascinating character; a mixture of the outer survivor and the emotional inside. There are profound ethical questions at the heart of her story. Boyne is simply a great storyteller. Sometimes it takes a pause for skepticism, but this man knows how to spin a good yarn.
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https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-reviews/john-boynes-holocaust-sequel-doesnt-quite-measure-up-to-boy-in-the-striped-pyjamas-41996937.html John Boyne’s Holocaust Sequel Not Quite as Boy in the Striped Pajamas