Book Review: The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada

7662771Title: The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Page count: 109 pages
Format: Harcover
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Rating – 4/5

An international sensation now available in English for the first time, The Violin of Auschwitz is the unforgettable story of one man’s refusal to surrender his dignity in the face of history’s greatest atrocity.

In the winter of 1991, at a concert in Krakow, an older woman with a marvelously pitched violin meets a fellow musician who is instantly captivated by her instrument. When he asks her how she obtained it, she reveals the remarkable story behind its origin… Imprisoned at Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp, Daniel feels his humanity slipping away. Treasured memories of the young woman he loved and the prayers that once lingered on his lips become hazier with each passing day. Then a visit from a mysterious stranger changes everything, as Daniel’s former identity as a crafter of fine violins is revealed to all. The camp’s two most dangerous men use this information to make a cruel wager: If Daniel can build a successful violin within a certain number of days, the Kommandant wins a case of the finest burgundy. If not, the camp doctor, a torturer, gets hold of Daniel. And so, battling exhaustion, Daniel tries to recapture his lost art, knowing all too well the likely cost of failure.

Written with lyrical simplicity and haunting beauty—and interspersed with chilling, actual Nazi documentation—The Violin of Auschwitz is more than just a novel: It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of beauty, art, and hope to triumph over the darkest adversity.

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Good morning! The Violin of Auschwitz is a work of historical fiction in which our main character Daniel is trying to survive life in the deplorable conditions of Auschwitz. In his life before the war, he was a violin maker and had a passion and love for his work. When he gets to Auschwitz he lies and says he is a carpenter and is given odd jobs for the Commander until one of the commanders violins breaks during a party and Daniel steps up to fix it. It becomes a race for his life when he finds out that the commander and the doctor have bet a  case of wine and Daniel’s life on whether the violin will be quality and completed in a reasonable amount of time. There is also a larger story to which the history of Daniel’s violin connects and it also ends on a note of hope.

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I stumbled upon it while browsing through Listopia on Goodreads. I don’t know why I do this to myself but I love reading books that take place during this timeframe. I think they are vastly important works of literature and even though they make me incredibly sad I just think it’s really important to read books like this to remind ourselves of what humanity is capable both of, both good and the bad.

I gave this book four stars, I really was hoping that it would be a five star read and I think the blurbs on the jacket really hyped the book up for me to where it didn’t quite meet my expectations. This is a translation from Catalan so I’m thinking maybe some of the emotion was lost in translation. That’s not to say that there wasn’t emotion because there definitely was. It was heartbreaking in places and bittersweet in some. It also reminded me of the strength of the human spirit. Some of my favorite parts of this book were Daniel’s descriptions of when he is working on the violin which serves as a piece of a hope that he hangs onto.

At just 109 pages this book is a super light read. Because it is a heavier subject for me I didn’t read it in one sitting even though it is a really short book but it just took me a little longer to process my feelings, I liked it alot. If you are a historical fiction fan or want to read more literature about the Holocaust please check this book out and let me know what you think of it. I would love to read this book in it’s original language to compare the differences in the emotions it stirs and in the reading experiences.

Anyway, thank you for stopping by to read my review. I really appreciate it! I have a few more books that I am hoping to read this month so I can’t wait to share those with you as well. I have received a few eARCS and I want to do some more pleasure reading so stay tuned.

Happy Reading everyone!  (Well unless you’re reading a sad book like me)

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