Review published on March 7, 2018.
Grim and distressing yet it shows, like Schindler’s List, the power of humanity’s bravery and compassion.
A true story, one I’d never come across, of the Holocaust. When you’ve read and seen films growing up, you think you aren’t going to meet something new about the concentration camps. Here’s a story that I hadn’t considered – that of the Jew forced to tattoo his fellow camp labourers with their numbers.
Lale Sokolov vows to survive his ordeal by any means he can. While this might mean for some a clinging to life by treading over others, Lale uses his small advantages to help others. He also falls deeply in love with another camp inmate, Gita.
I accessed this book as an audiobook, and found it a very appropriate medium for the story, listening to Lale’s voice through his history. Knowing that the two main characters in it are real takes a little of the tension out of the book, though the ordeal of the pair and their acquaintances and families are still painful, knowing that these are real events. The fact that Lale is in a privileged position, talking regularly with some of those in positions of power, is quite chilling. And though you know Lale lives through it, I still found the constant threat a little frightening.
The story takes us out of the War by the end, and we get to hear of Lale and Gita’s experiences and lives after Auschwitz, which moved me to tears listening to their later lives and how they chose to move on from such horrors.
Personal stories are a powerful way to view stories of the Holocaust. This story comes via Lale through a writer telling us his story, and the slight emotional detachment of the third person makes it more bearable. Lale’s thoughts are clearly stated throughout, the scene set and made quite visual.
Narrated well on Audible, the voices of both Lale and Gita are plausible as given life by the one voice, and I would recommend this medium for the novel.
Katy Noyes 4/4
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd B0765C3J31 audiobook Feb 2018
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