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Mischling (Hardback)

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It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.

That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks - a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin - travel through Poland's devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Atlantic Books Publication Date: 02/02/2017 ISBN-13: 9781786490841  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Affinity Konar was raised in California. She is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program.

More books by Affinity Konar

Customer Reviews

I was quite wary about starting "Mischling" having heard how powerful and harrowing it was from fellow readers. What went on during the holocaust was without doubt inhumane, brutal and incomprehensible, however this book almost had a YA feel to it, so it tended to hold back just enough on the vivid brutalities. I loved the start to the story, beginning with the identical twins still in the womb and the thoughts of what Stasha was feeling as she and her twin Pearl were about to leave the safety of their mother. It then swiftly moves on to them arriving at Auschwitz at twelve years old and being selected by the infamous Dr Mengele for his 'zoo'. Part one of the book is set in the camp and the terrible experiments carried out on the unfortunate children. It is during this part that Pearl goes missing during a musical concert and Stasha is devastated. Part two follows the liberation of the camp and Stasha, together with her friend Feliks go in search of her twin. The story is told through Stasha's thoughts and emotions and we really get to feel her heartache and devastation when Pearl disappears. I'm not one of a twin, I don't have a sister or even a brother, so I find it hard at times to understand the love and the connection one may have with a sibling. However, through the author's vivid emotion and pure sentimentality I was able to sense what it must be like to have a twin and to feel as one body. Although the prose was highly poetic and descriptive and was obviously written by an exceedingly talented and passionate author (Affinity Konar) I'm not sure the writing style was to my complete liking - maybe a bit too artistic and flowery. This is just my opinion and from the amount of highly positive reviews I maybe in a minority. I would recommend this book, I do believe it's a story you need to read for yourself to form your own opinions, some will be more affected emotionally than others but without a doubt it is a powerful, emotional and harrowing read that really got to me and it's well worth a read. 4 stars

- 26/09/2017
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