Short Story – Life Sentence
I picked this up just before Christmas intending to give it away. The front cover presented a compelling reason to make my purchase.
“One of the most beautiful books of the year…you will read it in done sitting” Le Parisien
“But you did not come back” is Marceline’s letter to the father she would never know as an adult.
The daughter and father had been thrown into cattle trucks and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, many miles from their comfortable chateau in France.
So how did I find this succinct 100 page work?
Well to start with I fell asleep reading the second chapter.
Then by the middle of the book I’d convinced myself this was nothing more than the author’s clever account of what it might have been like at Auschwitz, and beyond.
After a while I decided to check if this was no more than money maker in the same vein as “The Boy in Striped Pyjamas”.
To my surprise I discovered this book is the real deal, written by one of the last remaining French jews to remain alive after deportation to Nazi death camps.
The tragic thing here is that I want to write “survivor”, but her experience was so grim that this would be too grand a description.
It seems her life only tentatively reached normality decades after the war.
Somehow the author looks gloriously alive, and absolutely charming in the photo on the back flyleaf.
As much as I want to give this book a good review I can’t. At £12.99 for such a short story which didn’t suck me in I can’t give it more than 2 out 5.
I hate anti-semtism, and have an enormous sympathy for the author but something didn’t click.
This book could make superb short story on Radio 4, and with the right narrator it would surely get the listeners reaching for the kleenex.