The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne [Book Review]

The Boy in the striped pajamas.jpgTitle : The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Author : John Boyne

ISBN : 9780385751063

Publisher : David Fickling Books

Genre : Historical Fiction

Pages : 224

Source : Self

Rating : 3 Stars

The ending is heart-breaking!

The story revolves around a 9-year-old boy, Bruno, his 12-year-old sister Gretel, his mom who’s a housewife and his dad who’s a commandant in the German army. The book is set in 1940’s Germany.

I enjoyed reading the book, though the author’s attempt to show the main lead, Bruno, as an innocent kid has kind of resulted in a few flaws.

One-time read.!

Buy yourself a copy of the book here: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink [Book Review]

the-reader1Title : The Reader

Author : Bernhard Schlink

ISBN : 9780375408267

Publisher : Vintage Books

Genre : Historical Fiction

Pages : 218

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars

It’s not always that I finish a book and stare at my surroundings while still pondering should I exclaim “Wow” or try to decipher why I am sad. It’s not always that I go numb for a while after finishing the book and a particular character keep hitting my head like a hammer on the nail.

Michael is 15 year old and one day on his way to school he falls sick and is rescued by Hannah, a 36 year old street car conductor. What follows is a sensual encounter between the two and both continue a furtive courtship full of passion, intense love-making, vacations and romance. Michael becomes bewitched by Hana and falls in love with her but her silences perturbs him. She keeps mum about her past life and is hardly ever seen in public. She asks Michael to read to her and they spend much time with books- Michael reading her popular German classics. One day Hannah disappears without any trace or explanation. Life moves on and Michael joins law school. He is supposed to attend a trial as a part of his course, where he sees Hannah again. She is being tried for a hideous crime but it doesn’t take Michael to realize that during the trial, through her obscure arguments having various loopholes, her momentary blank stares and her peculiar silence, she is trying to guard a secret- a secret about herself that she doesn’t want anyone to know, which Michael is soon to find out.

“The Reader” is a hard-hitting tale of passion, love, guilt and a meditation on choices one makes in life. The story has mention of holocaust and it takes place in Post-war Germany and you might want to step in the shoes of someone who has been through the tragic era to actually understand Hannah’s behavior and her secret.

The book, towards the end, will also leave you wondering- wondering about who was right and who was wrong or if no one was right or wrong and it was just circumstances cunningly setting things the way they came out to be.

Buy yourself a copy from Amazon here

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak [Book Review]

The Book thief by Markus ZusakTitle : The Book Thief

Author : Markus Zusak

ISBN : 9780375831003

Publisher : Knopf Books

Genre : Historical Fiction

Pages : 552

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars




The Book Thief is a story of a 11-year old German girl, narrated by none other than Death himself. The story is set in Munich, Germany during the World War II period.

Liesel (The Book Thief) loses her brother and is orphaned when her mother leaves her, after giving her away to her foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann, who live in Himmel street, Munich. Hans, an accordionist and painter, teaches Liesel how to read and write. Rosa, a gruff woman, swears a lot but has a heart of gold. Liesel is loved greatly by them.

In keeping a promise, Hans agrees to shelter Max Vandenburg, his friend’s son and a jew, in the basement of his house. During the course of his stay at the hubermanns, Max becomes great friends with Liesel. He writes two books for her, ‘The standover man’ and ‘The word shaker’.

Liesel loses everything when Himmel street is bombed, including her parents, her next door neighbor and best friend Rudy Steiner and a book she had written about her life, titled ‘The Book Thief’. The book is later found by Death.

The story is a strong one – it moves like a sailboat on a brisk day. The choice to tell the story through Death was a good one. Death foreshadows constantly, so we know a bit about which characters will die. This doesn’t ruin the shock value, instead it heightens the anticipation and dread of the reader.

Few quotes from the book:

Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children”

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”

The Book Thief is beautifully written, extremely engrossing. A masterpiece.