Book Title: Mischling
Author: Affinity Konar
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Good writing, but not for me
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Mischling – Nazi term used to denote a person who is half Jew / half Aryan.
Two sisters are unlucky enough to be doubly fascinating to an infamous Nazi. First a little history, Mengele, the doctor of Auschwitz, the Angel of Death, loves twins. He also loves to perform gruesome, unholy experiments on people. These girls are twins, and have fair hair and skin which he is also enamored of, they become at once his pets and his project. Thankfully, while he is the demon in the dark of this book, we don’t actually witness his atrocities. We know of them through these two young girls as they describe their life in the camp, the suffering they experience, and their fight to stay together and protect one another. It is a bleak, horrible, numbing story.
Mischling is a well researched book, all the worse for me as I didn’t want to hear all of this. I am not one for this subject matter. I don’t need to imagine the horrors in order to appreciate how god-awful this chapter of history was. I’ve read books such as Schindler’s List, Maus, The Book Thief, Man’s Search for Meaning, Night and Anne Frank’s Diary among others. However, in more recent years I try to limit my exposure to such depressing information. It doesn’t do good things for my peace of mind. I am aware and that is enough. In that sense, I appreciated the fact that the author obscured the more horrific aspects of the book. I’m not sure it was intended this way, but sometimes the flowery prose made it difficult to clearly understand the extent of what was happening, which provided a little relief. That was not a good thing though when I frequently had to re-read a page in order to understand what exactly had just occurred. Especially, when a particularly difficult passage also contained an extremely important plot point!
Characterization was good, but I found myself drawn more to the secondary characters than to the twins themselves. With secondary characters I could “see” what a they were doing, and interpret how they were reacting to their cirumstances. That was easier than listening to the two girls express themselves, and tell their own stories. I blame this to a certain degree on the writing style. It tended toward the poetic, and I respond better to a more straightforward style. It is a strong story though. If you like literature about the Holocaust then this would be an interesting book to read. I can see why it is garnering a lot of acclaim. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I am learning my lesson, do more research about the book before you request it on Netgalley. I’ve been burned a couple of times recently, through no one’s fault but my own.
Song for this book: Two of Us On the Run by Lucius