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The World That We Knew de Alice Hoffman
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The World That We Knew (edició 2019)

de Alice Hoffman

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
5393633,599 (4.3)19
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it's his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked. Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.… (més)
Membre:loretteirene
Títol:The World That We Knew
Autors:Alice Hoffman
Informació:Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The World That We Knew de Alice Hoffman

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Here we have Alice Hoffman combining Nazis and a golem in Germany and France in the early 1940s. In France, the war has settled into the early defeat of the French and the German occupation that followed. A woman realizes she must get her twelve-year-old daughter, Lea, away from the reach of the Nazi regime, so she goes to a famed rabbi for help. But in the end, it is the rabbi’s daughter, Ettie, who creates a traveling companion and protector for Hanni Kohn’s daughter. We also learn that Ettie has a young daughter, Marta, who she wants to spirit away from the German occupiers. As for the protector, its named Ava and is a rare golem, a Jewish creature of legend who is sworn to protect the daughter as they travel to a convent/school in the mountains of eastern France. Ava is made of the mud on the banks of the River Spree and a mixture of Hanni’s tears and Marta’s menstrual blood. I won’t go into the abilities and powers that the golem possesses (which are curious), and while I found myself interested in both the Jewish mystical and the war aspects of the book, after a while my interest in the story waned. I do find myself agreeing with this line from a review of the book in the New York Journal of Books. “The novel’s main weakness, however, is that Hoffman seems to get bored when she’s not writing about magic and just grabs the nearest cliché.” Overall, this book was one of my least favorite of Alice Hoffman’s books. Reading of the golem and its point of view, I did find my mind escaping to thinking about Grendel by John Gardner—but that may just be me. ( )
  jphamilton | Jun 16, 2021 |
I finished reading this book yesterday and absolutely sped-read throughout it because it was so good, but now that I’ve come to write the review I find myself at a loss for words. I’ve never read any of Hoffman’s books before, which is surprising because a lot of her subject matter seems to involve themes around feminism, magic, and history - all topics which I generally enjoy - but I guess it’s better late than never to discover a new author! The story Hoffman presents here revolves around the intertwined stories of three young women and a golem as they struggle to survive during the Jewish genocide of World War II. Historical events are woven into a story bound by Jewish mysticism and magic at its core to give us a tale that brings readers straight into the harsh reality of war-torn France but lifts us up with a message that community and love can persevere with the right ingredients and determination. At times I felt like Hoffman was giving us a bit of a facts list with her continually recounted numbers relating how many people were saved by the efforts of resistance groups and the change in tone when she recalled with an almost medical precision how many people were lost to the war, but these small doses of reality served to keep the story realistic. It would be far too easy to be swept up in the young friendship and romance of Lea and Julien, the strange development of Ava towards a more human nature, and the picturesque descriptions of the Bee House farm, but we must remember that while these events are lovely in and of themselves they came about because of the chaos that Europe was thrown into from the advances of the Nazis. As the story comes to its conclusion during the final days of the war we see the deaths of many of our favourite characters, and few get quite what they want, so Hoffman deftly steers clear of this book being labeled a simple romance. And yet, the feeling we are left with as we close the covers is distinctly hopeful, as many of the characters have persevered despite their hardships and their individual transformations are nothing less than magical. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
I got more out of this book than I have from many others of Hoffman. I learned a little about the myth on which it is based and opened up my mind to the golem. I also went with the magic realism so that I could learn the details of the characters. Those were important, tragic, and educational. Most of the book took place in France during the Holocaust. ( )
  suesbooks | Jan 31, 2021 |
Alice Hoffman and I have a love-hate relationship. I want to love her books, but most of the time I either do not finish them or finish them under duress. However, with The World That We Knew, I found an Alice Hoffman novel I love. Even though it occurs during World War II, her exploration of what makes us human resonates in today’s fractious environment.

While World War II is the backdrop of the story, The World That We Knew is not a World War II novel. Rather, it is a novel that explores love and sacrifice as key aspects of one’s humanity. Told through various narrators, we get an understanding of what it feels like to be prey among a country of predators, always watchful, always anxious. We also get a glimpse of how people survive in such impossible situations, fighting through action, survival, and love. Never pontific, Ms. Hoffman allows her characters to show the integrity and fortitude required to keep going after horrific losses and the love that binds past to present.

The World That We Knew is an unassuming story with a quiet message. That message, however, loudly resonates within a world in which overt displays of hatred and bigotry become more commonplace and society becomes increasingly ideologically and politically divided. As we enter a new presidential era, The World That We Knew brings a reminder that hope and love will always win. ( )
  jmchshannon | Jan 26, 2021 |
I struggled with a novel that combines "fantasy" with a regular novel like "The World that we knew" did. The creation of a "golum" by a young jesish girl to protect another girl, was too unreal for me in a real story. It gave too much creative license.. The addition of a heron who can communicate was just too much. If I could ignore these fantasy aspects then I did enjoy this novel ( )
  Smits | Nov 27, 2020 |
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"Can you tell me the way then, and I will seek you..."
"Yes, you may do that," said he; "but there is no thither.
It lies east of the sun, and west of the moon, and never would you find your way there."

                             "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"
The strangers in your midst shall be to you as the native born, for you know the stranger's heart, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

                                                               Exodus 23:9
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To my mother, Sherry Hoffman, I will miss you forever.
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If you do not believe in evil, you are doomed to live in a world you will never understand.
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If you are loved, you never lose the person who loved you. You carry them with you all your life.
Trust no one, make your own future, love with all your heart.
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In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it's his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked. Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.

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