Mischling

Affinity Konar. LB/Boudreaux, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-30810-6
Without sentimentality, Konar’s gripping novel explores the world of the children who were the subjects of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s horrifying experiments at Auschwitz. Stasha and Pearl, 12-year-old Jewish sisters from Poland, are placed in Mengele’s “zoo” because they are twins, rather than being sent to the gas chambers. Stasha is impulsive, a little melancholy, and given to storytelling; Pearl is more restrained and observant, and less dependent on her sister. Mengele selects one of the sisters to torture and uses the other as a control in his experiment. The two narrate alternating chapters of their story, which begins when they are sent to the camp in the autumn of 1944. The latter part takes the novel into the chaotic months after Auschwitz was abandoned, when some of the inmates were set on a death march and others were liberated by the Allies. Konar neatly avoids making Mengele the center of attention, instead focusing on the girls and the people they meet in the zoo, including brash, mouthy Bruna; conflicted Dr. Miri, a Jewish physician conscripted to work for “Uncle Doctor” Mengele; and messenger boy Peter, whose affection for Pearl threatens the closeness of the twins. Konar makes every sentence count; it’s to her credit that the girls never come across as simply victims: they’re flawed, memorable characters trying to stay alive. This is a brutally beautiful novel. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-345-81641-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-1282-8
Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-0-316-46417-8
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-316-30808-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-1505-8
Hardcover - 978-0-316-46684-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4789-7176-4
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-316-30809-0
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