The Girl from Kracow

Alex Rosenberg. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (452p) ISBN 978-1-4778-3081-9
Rosenberg’s debut novel focuses on Rita Feuerstahl, a blond-haired Polish Jew who enters adulthood as the Nazis have secured their grip on Germany. The story follows her through World War II, struggling to hide her identity to avoid being deported to a death camp, all the while searching for her lost young son, Stefan. A subplot involves her lover, Tadeusz Sommermann, a doctor who escapes the Nazis by moving to Stalinist Russia. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Rita knows that the British have broken the Nazis’ secret communication code, not to mention the novel’s philosophical digressions and sex. The book is a page-turner with a focus on how ordinary people cope when trapped in totalitarian systems. Rosenberg has done his homework on wartime Poland, Russia, and Germany, so that rather than using the period as window dressing, he vividly brings to life what it might have felt like, day to day, to navigate this distorted world. Combined with its strong characters, Rosenberg’s novel is a winner. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
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