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A Boy in Winter (2017)

de Rachel Seiffert

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MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
17812120,719 (3.81)47
"From the award-winning author of the Booker Prize-short-listed The Dark Room, a startling portrait of the Nazis' arrival in Ukraine as they move to implement the final solution. Otto Pohl, an engineer overseeing construction of a German road in Ukraine, awakens to the unexpected sight of SS men herding hundreds of Jews into an old brick factory. Inside the factory, Ephraim anxiously scans the growing crowd, looking for his two sons. As anxious questions swirl around him--'Where are they taking us? How long will we be gone?'--He can't quell the suspicion that it would be just like his oldest son to hole up somewhere instead of lining up for the Germans, and just like his youngest to follow. Yasia, a farmer's daughter who has come into town to sell produce, sees two young boys slinking through the shadows of the deserted streets and decides to offer them shelter. As these lives become more and more intertwined--Rachel Seiffert's prose rich with a rare compassion, courage, and emotional depth, an unflinching story is told: of survival, of conflicting senses of duty, of the oppressive power of fear and the possibility of courage in the face of terror"--… (més)
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» Mira també 47 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 12 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Set over three days in 1941 Ukraine, the author desribes a massacre of Jews, through a few plausible characters. There is the German engineer, sent out here long before, to create the infrastructure of roads and camps needed..even as he hates all his country stands for. Then a farm girl; her fiance has got away from the Russians and, pragmatically, joined the German police,. And lastly a pair of Jewish boys- as their parents obediently gather to be "resettled", 13 year old Yankel and his little brother, are making a bid to escape...
It works because the characters aren't solid baddies; the Germans are making tough choices too, in order to get through...
Sobering and evocative. ( )
  starbox | Nov 14, 2020 |
This book is set in the Ukraine in November 1941, winter is approaching. The Russians have just withdrawn their troops after a 10 year occupation and the locals wonder what is in store as the Germans now move in.
The book is a slow burner and I initially struggled to engage with the characters. Pohl, a German engineer, has managed to avoid conscription to the army by volunteering to build roads strong enough to support the armature of war and in his mind to outlast a generation. Ephraim, a Jewish watchmaker,his wife and young daughter have been rounded up in the early hours by the SS, along with the other Jewish inhabitants. His 13 year old son, Yankel, has runaway during the night taking their youngest child with him. Yasia, daughter of a farmer has walked into town to sell farm produce not realising that there is a curfew in place while the SS round up the Jewish community. She also hopes to locate her fiance who has runaway from the Russian Army and joined the German forces to try and earn enough money to support his family. The story moves from one character to the next,
Then the narrative ramps up the tension as it becomes apparent what is to befall the Jewish community. This happens with real impact as some of our characters witness the atrocity. Yasia takes the boys under her wing to shelter them and they attempt to escape across the cold winter landscape to a place of safety.
The book makes you realise the horrific decisions ordinary citizens are forced to make in an effort to survive. After a slow start, this short novel became a satisfying read. ( )
  HelenBaker | Nov 2, 2020 |
Solid writing, but I'm left unsatisfied. Unsatisfied with the characters, none of whom were developed enough for me to either connect or care, and unsatisfied with the story lines, all of which felt ungerminated. ( )
  DavidWylie | Apr 13, 2020 |
Set in a small town in the Ukraine in 1941, A Boy in Winter fuses the stories of three main characters together. One is a German engineer who has been sent to the town to oversee the building of new roads, yet who hates everything the German forces stand for. Another is a young farm girl whose intended has deserted the Red Army and has now reluctantly volunteers for the German police. Lastly, there is a young Jewish boy who has run away with his younger brother before the troops came to round up all the Jews in the town.

There are many great Holocaust and WWII fictional works out there, but for me this isn't one of them. Seiffert wanted to set the atmosphere of the times, with people from different backgrounds wary and suspicious of each other and as a result avoiding interaction. Yet the characters didn't just lack engagement with each other - they lacked engagement with me as a reader as well. These were horrifying times, yet I couldn't connect to what they were going through. The plot felt rushed and uneven, with peak plot points being reached too hurriedly before the characters and their back stories had been developed out properly.

I get what Seiffert was trying to do, blending the stories of characters from three very different positions in the war who ultimately at heart were all decent people. However, the writing was as cold as her winter setting.

3 stars - fine to pass time with, but not a book I'll think back on again. ( )
  AlisonY | Feb 7, 2019 |
Prize winning novel on a difficult topic. Well written and plotted, but, for me, a hard read.

It's 1941, a dull November day, and the German have invaded the Ukrainian. The SS arrive in a small town and the story goes on to tell of the next three days and what happens to the villagers. ( )
  p.d.r.lindsay | Dec 19, 2018 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Seiffert, Rachelautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Allion, Raquel LeisDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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He said the wicked know that if the evil they di is of sufficient horror, men will not speak against it. That men have only stomach for small evils and only these will they oppose......Cormac McCarthy, "THe Crossing"
I have never felt equal to the business....Viktor Klemperer, "To the Bitter End"
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He is out and running in the first grey of morning.
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"From the award-winning author of the Booker Prize-short-listed The Dark Room, a startling portrait of the Nazis' arrival in Ukraine as they move to implement the final solution. Otto Pohl, an engineer overseeing construction of a German road in Ukraine, awakens to the unexpected sight of SS men herding hundreds of Jews into an old brick factory. Inside the factory, Ephraim anxiously scans the growing crowd, looking for his two sons. As anxious questions swirl around him--'Where are they taking us? How long will we be gone?'--He can't quell the suspicion that it would be just like his oldest son to hole up somewhere instead of lining up for the Germans, and just like his youngest to follow. Yasia, a farmer's daughter who has come into town to sell produce, sees two young boys slinking through the shadows of the deserted streets and decides to offer them shelter. As these lives become more and more intertwined--Rachel Seiffert's prose rich with a rare compassion, courage, and emotional depth, an unflinching story is told: of survival, of conflicting senses of duty, of the oppressive power of fear and the possibility of courage in the face of terror"--

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