The Book of Lost Names

Kristin Harmel. Gallery, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-98-213189-0
Harmel (The Winemaker’s Wife) brilliantly imagines the life of a young Polish-French Jewish woman during the depths of WWII. In 2005, Eva Traube, 86, lives in Winter Park, Fla., and works at the library, where she reads a newspaper story about a man in Germany returning rare books looted by the Nazis to WWII survivors. The story includes a photo of a book that once belonged to her, prompting her to leave immediately for Berlin. Harmel then transitions back to 1940s France, when 23-year-old Eva and her mother escape the roundups in Paris and end up in the tiny town of Aurignon. Eva meets document forger Rémy Duchamp, who draws her into the Resistance; Remy trains Eva, and the two inevitably grow closer as they work to provide papers for those fleeing the Nazi regime. Eva and Rémy devise a method of recording the names of unaccompanied escaping children, coding each name in an old library book, which Eva saw in the newspaper story. Now in Berlin, Eva hopes to recover and decode the names, and learn the fate of Rémy. Harmel movingly illustrates Eva’s courage to risk her own life for others, and all of the characters are portrayed with realistic compassion. This thoughtful work will touch readers with its testament to the endurance of hope. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/27/2020
Release date: 07/21/2020
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0558-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0560-4
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