What the Night Sings

Vesper Stamper. Knopf, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5247-0038-6
Stamper’s exceptionally moving debut goes beyond recounting the suffering inflicted on Jews during the Holocaust to explore a young woman’s conflict between love and artistic ambition. Fourteen-year-old Gerta Richter, a talented singer and daughter of a violist in the Würzburg Orchestra, learned that she is actually Gerta Rausch, a Jew, when she and her father were forcibly removed from Würzburg by the Nazis one night in June 1944. The novel opens with the British liberation of German concentration camps in 1945 and moves smoothly among Gerta’s prewar life, her stay in concentration camps and the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons camp, and her postwar flight to Palestine. Focusing on Gerta’s transitional time as a displaced person, Stamper delves into her fight to regain her musical gift, her deepening relationship with a fellow survivor, her growing identity as a Jew, and her struggle to make decisions about her future. Generously illustrated with Stamper’s haunting spot images and larger scenes, all in deep brown hues that evoke profound emotion, the book is a strong addition to the bookshelf of Holocaust fiction. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary Management. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 02/20/2018
Book - 978-1-5247-0040-9
Library Binding - 272 pages - 978-1-5247-0039-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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