Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: Mischling by Affinity Konar

Title: Mischling
Author: Affinity Konar
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books 
Publish Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "Pearl is in charge of: the sad, the good, the past.

Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.

It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.

That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks--a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin--travel through Poland's devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it."

My Two Cents:

"Mischling" is the story of two identical twin sisters who are sent to Auschwitz during World War II  with their mother and grandfather. As they are twins and identical twins at that, the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele becomes incredibly interested in studying them in the concentration camp. Pearl and Stasha see themselves as two sides of the same coin. It means they share in the good but that they also must share the bad, which makes Mengele's experiments more insidious than they already were (hard to imagine to be sure).

Being the mother of identical twins, this book definitely frightened me and made me think a lot. I really like the way that the author was able to capture capture the bond between both of the sisters. It's through their incredible bond that they're able to protect their minds from all that they see in the concentration camp. It's incredibly powerful and definitely made me sad in a lot of places. This is the first fictional book that I have read that takes on Mengele's experiments and it is frightening!

The author uses a lot of detail which while uncomfortable, gives you a good sense of what people went through with regard to human experimentation. The narrative is divided up by the twins and how they see things a little differently, which I thought was good touch and definitely engaged me.

This book is very powerful and it's definitely a book that I have been thinking about long since I got to the last page.



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