Thursday, May 6, 2010

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

I hung out with my pal Rachel tonight and after dinner we went to a Borders near by to meander through the isles. This is a typical evening for Rachel and I. And I am telling you a good 80% of books I picked up that caught my eye, cover wise, were all about Jewish refugees, the Holocaust or the war. Sigh. Rachel says I am destined to continue reading about this since Sarah's Key affected me so. Though I don't think my heart could take too much more I think I am going to read the book pictured above. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. It was on display and it caught my attention.

Here is the description from Publisher's Weekly.

A provocative transformation of the classic fairy tale into a haunting survival story set in Poland during WWII, Murphy's second novel (after The Sea Within) is darkly enchanting. Two Jewish children, a girl of 11 and her seven-year-old brother, are left to wander the woods after their father and stepmother are forced to abandon them, frantically begging them never to say their Jewish names, but to identify themselves as Hansel and Gretel. In an imaginative reversal of the original tale, they encounter a small woman named Magda, known as a "witch" by villagers, who risks her life in harboring them. The story alternates between the children's nightmarish adventures, and their parents' struggle for survival and hope for a safe reunion. This mirror image of the fairy tale is deliberately disorienting, as Murphy describes the horrors of the outside world compared with the haven inside Magda's hut, and the fear and anguish of the other people who conspire to save the children and protect their own families, too. The na‹ve siblings are only half-conscious of much of this, though they are perfectly aware of their peril should they be discovered. The graphic details-the physical symptoms of near starvation, the infestations of lice, the effects of bitter cold-make it plain that this is the grimmest kind of fable. Eventually, the Nazis indulge in wholesale slaughter, and the children barely survive, hiding and on the run. No reader who picks up this inspiring novel will put it down until the final pages, in which redemption is not a fairy tale ending but a heartening message of hope.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

I also have Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum on my nightstand now too.
Hmm, my heart be damned. Let the tears flow.

What a stretch from Sweet Valley High, huh? (the topic of one of my previous posts)
Boy, I'm either crazy or I have amazing range!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

That Hansel and Gretel sounds good. I may have to pick it up!

Can I just say...I just love your header! I know I said it before, but those kitties are just adorable. I love kitties! =O)

Marce said...

Amazing range, I think you should embrace that :-)

I just reviewed 13th Hour, thanks for recommendation I did enjoy it.

Jacki said...

I have The True Story of Hansel and Gretel on my wish list. Let me know how it is, since I likely won't get to it for some time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that does sound sad...but good at the same time!

Jennifer said...

I didn't like Hansel and Gretel too much, for some reason. I loved THOSE WHO SAVE US, though! I'm also hooked on this period in history! I'm curious what you think of both of these books!

If you like memoirs, I recommend ALL BUT MY LIFE by Gerda Weismann Klein.

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian is also a great book around this period in time.

I've read a lot of historical fiction during this time and can't seem to get enough!!

Teresa said...

I'm going to go with incredible range :)

I've found that I'll get into a groove where I read a bunch of similar books at one time too.

Rachel said...

It was really weird that every book you picked up was about the haulocaust. But you can't escape fate.

Jessica said...

Thanks for posting this title. I hadn't seen it before and it looks like it's right up my alley.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Michelle- The real kitties are even cuter!! Thanks for the compliment!

MarceJ- I am so glad you liked the 13th Hour!

Jacki- I'll keep you posted as to how I like it.

booksploring- Sad and good go hand in hand sometimes with the books I choose!

Jennifer- Thanks for the recommendation. I think I may read Those Who save Us first and go from there. I have a few memoirs on my shelf but I haven't heard of the one you suggested. I'll check it out. !

Teresa- I'd llike to think i have a bit of range vs. the craziness!

Rachel- I know. :(

Jessica- You are welcome. It was on a Recommended books display at the store next to a bunch of other really good ones too.

Thank you all for commenting!!!

Amo said...

That book sounds interesting. And by the way, I used to loooooooove Sweet Valley High books when I was in junior high. I couldn't get enough of them. Back then, there were around thirty-something in the series and I had read and owned them all!

Jenny said...

Haha, I was just thinking when I saw this that you just read Sarah's Key too. =) I have this and Those Who Save Us on my TBR. I've heard great things about both! It's just that I have like 300 other books that are supposedly great too, lol!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Awesome review.

Peaceful Reader said...

I've looked at this book as well. It does sound so intriguing! Can't wait to read your review.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This is one book that I have wanted to get. Thanks for your great review.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

Oh gosh...those who save us and sarah's key - WOW! what amazing books!!! I haven't read hansel & gretel yet...I'm such a WWII junkie, especially since I went to the holocaust museum in Washington DC several years ago. I was appalled at America's negligence in intervening for so long....kind of like um, Africa ..... oh geez don't get me started!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

This book looks really interesting. I've always liked the original story of hansel and gretel.

Alexia561 said...

Thought that this book was amazing, so hope you like it! It's a serious story, but the author wove in bits and pieces from the old fairy tale, which I really enjoyed. Happy reading!

WonderBunny said...

Sounds like a very interesting read.