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Mischling por Affinity Konar
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Mischling (original 2016; edição 2017)

por Affinity Konar (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
5514034,003 (3.92)21
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.… (mais)
Membro:willowtree1990
Título:Mischling
Autores:Affinity Konar (Autor)
Informação:Lee Boudreaux / Back Bay Books (2017), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Mischling por Affinity Konar (2016)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 40 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
What Strength Is

Those interested in a purely factual account of what transpired to twins at Auschwitz, in particular the tortures disguising as experiments administered and personally conducted by Josef Mengele, may be better served by books such as Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz (combines survivor testimony with facts about Mengele’s life and “experiments”). In her debut novel, Konar covers much of what took place, including Mengele’s interaction with the children in his “Zoo” and his personal mannerisms, but hers is a venture into literary fiction that often times ascends to the lyrical. What she does here, often well, is convey the psychological and emotional effects of Auschwitz, Mengele, and his experiments, by following twelve-year-old twins Pearl and Stasha in the concentration camp and beyond. How well this works depends on readers; their expectations and frames of mind will determine how well they appreciate and empathize on a gut human level with the suffering, for certain, but also with the strength, determination, and hope inspired by these characters, and through them with the real life victims of Nazi myth and terror.

The novel divides into two parts, life within Auschwitz and the children’s “Zoo” and directly after the Soviets enter the concentration camp to free the survivors. Both present harrowing and horrifying views of what Pearl and Stasha suffer through and over which they triumph.

Within the camp, Konar provides readers with enough detail to comprehend viscerally how terrifying it was: little children separated upon arrival from their parents; sequestered in what amounted to filthy, foul cubbyholes; driven in ersatz Red Cross ambulances to Mengele’s lab (really an unsanitary chamber of horrors) where they were stripped, cataloged like specimens, and subjected to chemical and surgical experimentation without benefit of anesthetics; and their daily life scrounging for food and living under the literal shadow of death, and often with the dead stacked near them. How they managed to survive was less miracle and more an exercise of sheer will illustrated in the various reveries, remembrances, and psychological subterfuges of Stasha, Pearl, and their companions.

As bad as the these experiences will strike the reader, what follows proves more torturous, both physically and mentally. Perhaps on cursory consideration, you imagine freedom from the camps and then the end of the war the end of the suffering, an admittedly uncomfortable transition to prewar life. Not so, or anywhere near reality, as Stasha and Pearl, long separated and believing against hope the other dead, shamble across the flattened and burned out land- and cityscapes of Poland, many times among maneuvering Soviet troops and fractured, desperate Wehrmacht in the wind down to May 7, 1945 (May 11, in the case of German Army Group Centre). Their post-camp plight is the destruction wrought by total war but a couple standout as particularly noteworthy for readers to ponder involving choices and actions that even under battle conditions seem beyond the pale. One involves Stasha and the combined mercy to a mother and delivery of a child that everybody will find devastating. The second concerns Dr. Miri, the Jewish doctor forced to assist Mengele. Here’s a woman who lost everything dear to her: husband, sisters, and her mental health. The choices she had to make, the actions of life and death she took it upon herself to exercise are beyond anything any reader can imagine until they see them on the pages of Konar’s novel. In remembrance and confession, Miri finally opens up about the burden she bore beginning with her own sisters, which while horrid, peel back only the surface layer of her suffering: “‘My sisters, both lost to me. Orli, dead, months after our arrival. Ibi, dispatched to the Puff. But before they were lost—he made me take their wombs myself.’” (For more on the Puff and Nazi forced prostitution, see House of Dolls.)

How, you wonder, do you survive atrocities like those dramatized in Mischling? Konar’s novel is about that, but really much more. She writes about the strength of the human spirit bolstered by hope, by the goodness life can offer, by what really matters in living beyond the mere acting out of survival. Amid the abundance of carnage and suffering there threads this hope, and it is the strength of her novel. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
What Strength Is

Those interested in a purely factual account of what transpired to twins at Auschwitz, in particular the tortures disguising as experiments administered and personally conducted by Josef Mengele, may be better served by books such as Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz (combines survivor testimony with facts about Mengele’s life and “experiments”). In her debut novel, Konar covers much of what took place, including Mengele’s interaction with the children in his “Zoo” and his personal mannerisms, but hers is a venture into literary fiction that often times ascends to the lyrical. What she does here, often well, is convey the psychological and emotional effects of Auschwitz, Mengele, and his experiments, by following twelve-year-old twins Pearl and Stasha in the concentration camp and beyond. How well this works depends on readers; their expectations and frames of mind will determine how well they appreciate and empathize on a gut human level with the suffering, for certain, but also with the strength, determination, and hope inspired by these characters, and through them with the real life victims of Nazi myth and terror.

The novel divides into two parts, life within Auschwitz and the children’s “Zoo” and directly after the Soviets enter the concentration camp to free the survivors. Both present harrowing and horrifying views of what Pearl and Stasha suffer through and over which they triumph.

Within the camp, Konar provides readers with enough detail to comprehend viscerally how terrifying it was: little children separated upon arrival from their parents; sequestered in what amounted to filthy, foul cubbyholes; driven in ersatz Red Cross ambulances to Mengele’s lab (really an unsanitary chamber of horrors) where they were stripped, cataloged like specimens, and subjected to chemical and surgical experimentation without benefit of anesthetics; and their daily life scrounging for food and living under the literal shadow of death, and often with the dead stacked near them. How they managed to survive was less miracle and more an exercise of sheer will illustrated in the various reveries, remembrances, and psychological subterfuges of Stasha, Pearl, and their companions.

As bad as the these experiences will strike the reader, what follows proves more torturous, both physically and mentally. Perhaps on cursory consideration, you imagine freedom from the camps and then the end of the war the end of the suffering, an admittedly uncomfortable transition to prewar life. Not so, or anywhere near reality, as Stasha and Pearl, long separated and believing against hope the other dead, shamble across the flattened and burned out land- and cityscapes of Poland, many times among maneuvering Soviet troops and fractured, desperate Wehrmacht in the wind down to May 7, 1945 (May 11, in the case of German Army Group Centre). Their post-camp plight is the destruction wrought by total war but a couple standout as particularly noteworthy for readers to ponder involving choices and actions that even under battle conditions seem beyond the pale. One involves Stasha and the combined mercy to a mother and delivery of a child that everybody will find devastating. The second concerns Dr. Miri, the Jewish doctor forced to assist Mengele. Here’s a woman who lost everything dear to her: husband, sisters, and her mental health. The choices she had to make, the actions of life and death she took it upon herself to exercise are beyond anything any reader can imagine until they see them on the pages of Konar’s novel. In remembrance and confession, Miri finally opens up about the burden she bore beginning with her own sisters, which while horrid, peel back only the surface layer of her suffering: “‘My sisters, both lost to me. Orli, dead, months after our arrival. Ibi, dispatched to the Puff. But before they were lost—he made me take their wombs myself.’” (For more on the Puff and Nazi forced prostitution, see House of Dolls.)

How, you wonder, do you survive atrocities like those dramatized in Mischling? Konar’s novel is about that, but really much more. She writes about the strength of the human spirit bolstered by hope, by the goodness life can offer, by what really matters in living beyond the mere acting out of survival. Amid the abundance of carnage and suffering there threads this hope, and it is the strength of her novel. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
As a couple of others have said, this is a difficult one to review. There are parts I liked, there were parts that simply due to the writing style were tedious, other parts were heartwarming, some were unpleasant and some were exasperating. The story was pretty decent but reading it felt like pouring molasses through a strained. Never did I want to quit as there was enough interest in the underlying story that I needed to see how it was resolved and if there was an acceptable end.

The pace of the story and somewhat disjointed nature of it distracted from what could have been a look into the emotional nightmare of being a Jewish twin in Mengele's sadistic world. Instead it felt more like an unpleasant fairy tale and lost any edge there was to the story. Admitted it was narrated through the eyes of a 12 year old pair of identical twins which would not have been an adult prospective however it just did not feel right - something was lacking that I cannot put my finger on. It is this lacking that makes this a simply OK read. It could have been far more than it was. ( )
  can44okie | Aug 28, 2020 |
Another heartbreaking book about the Holocaust. This time about children (twins, multiples) used as experiments by Josef Mengele. So much horror.

Book was a little slow, but mainly due to its attention to detail and descriptions. All these stories need to be told so that we never forget and never let it happen again. ( )
  LoriKBoyd | Mar 24, 2020 |
This book crawled beneath my skin and wrecked my heart. The poor children and all that they went through. I can’t fathom the tragedy, horror, and faithlessness that lived within their tiny minds. Yet, the strength and perseverance that so many showed is quite commendable.

Stasha and Pearl were twins at Auschwitz. From day one, they were test dummies. “Uncle” came in throwing around magical words and candy, and then stripped the girls of every last bit of dignity. He flat out tortured them. He poked and prodded, stripped them down, and messed with their minds. Together though, the girls made a pact to live. They split up duties and began making the best of the hell they were living through.

When they were separated though things got blurry. Death lingered about the surface and endless possibilities began to take form. Each girl had a solid foundation in a friend and while they slowly navigated towards another, all chaos broke loose. There were guns fights, beautiful horses, childbirth, sauerkraut barrels, gold temples, and more...

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s not a fun book. In all honesty, it’s a hard one to digest. The impact though, and the sacrifice need felt by all. It’s a dark dark read about a dark dark time. It’s gut wrenching, emotionally draining, and pure evil. The words left me breathless at times and I slowly turned the pages because I needed time to process all of the horror within the words. I think Stasha was my favorite, just because her personality screamed from the pages, but Pearl also tugged at my heart strings because it was her, that was worse off.

If you’re still uncertain, just trust me and read it. You may not like it, but never forget that it’s history and it’s really not supposed to be liked— it’s to be felt. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Jun 4, 2019 |
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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.

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