Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SCHINDLER'S LIST by Thomas Keneally (✰✰✰✰✰)

I loved the format in which Thomas Keneally wrote this book! It is listed as a novel, but definitely reads like non-fiction. The author himself states in the introduction that he was very, very careful with his facts, but that he chose to write the book as a novel for two reasons: he is a novelist by trade and that is the format he is comfortable writing, and he desired to include conversations. He assures the reader that all dialog is based on reports of actual conversations which took place. The original title of the book was Schindler's Ark, but on account of the movie it was rereleased under the movie's title. I love the original title, as Oskar Schindler did provide an ark for his Jews in the midst of the flood of Nazi atrocities.
This is a difficult book to get through, due to the horrific events that it chronicles. It is very seldom that I set a book aside and read another concurrently, but several times I found myself listening to my current audio book rather than reading this paperback; I needed a break from the intensity. The fact that I was unable to read their story made me marvel anew at the thousands of people who lived through such tragedy. More than anything, for me this is a story of love; it is a love story between a carousing German playboy industrialist and a group of Jewish prisoners. Oskar cared for them during the darkest hours of their lives, and they cared for him during the darkest hours of his. They were each other's family until the days of their deaths.
My audio book that I was listening to while reading this one, Devil in the White City, made for an interesting juxtaposition. In both books the leading man was cunning, charming, and savvy; H.H. Holmes was a serial killer who used those traits to lure in his victims. Oskar Schindler used them to save the lives of 1200 people sentenced to die.
This is one of the most powerful, moving books that I have ever read, and I can not recommend it highly enough. Yes, the movie is great, but to get the whole of this incredible story you must read the book.

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