Well, Calgary’s Wordfest is almost here!
For those not from around Calgary, who may not know what Wordfest is, it is a literary festival held for 10 days in October where readers and authors come together to engage in readings, workshops, panel discussions and in-school presentations.
As October is literally right around the corner I have made it my mission to read books from some of the authors attending the festival.
Affinity Konar, author of the newly published WWII novel Mischling is set to attend the event, but the book itself was on my radar long before, given that Konar’s story was being compared to the heartbreaking WWII novel All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
Did Mischling find its own place in the WWII fiction genre? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
Mischling is the story about identical twins, Pearl and Stasha, who arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. Upon separation from their family into the hands of infamous ‘Angel of Death,’ Josef Mengele, Pearl and Stasha are met with privileges and horrors only known to those in Mengele’s Zoo. The girls must be ready to face the horror that awaits them, both physically and mentally, both inside the camp and following the war.
It has been a while since I’ve read a book that has touched me so deeply. This is one of those books that, because it affected my life, I will recommend this to everyone I pass in a bookstore. It’s that good.
When I read a novel told from multiple perspectives, I find myself connecting with one voice over the other. However, each of the girls gifted the narrative with their both their
perspectives while also adding a sense of togetherness.
Halfway through this book the reader is faced with a loss of one of the girls, after that point, I pretty much did not stop crying for the remainder of Mischling.
During the chapters following one of the girl’s deaths, magical realism is introduced in this book, and though it wasn’t entirely necessary for it to be included, I felt it gave another layer to the book.
Also, there are a few illustrations that are strategically placed within the pages of the book. Every time I came across one, I could understand how important they were to the girls, while also understanding how Konar wanted them to be relevant to the reader.
I feel that when I am emotionally ready to step back into the history of twins and Auschwitz, I will pick up the non-fiction book Children of the Flame, referenced as inspiration for Konar’s work of fiction.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.