The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, 4 September 2018
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“..this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“Like the Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel’s Night, Morris’ work takes us inside the day-to-day workings of the most notorious German death camp. Over the course of three years, Morris interviewed Lale, teasing out his memories and weaving them into her heart-rending narrative of a Jew whose unlikely forced occupation as a tattooist put him in a position to act with kindness and humanity in a place where both were nearly extinct.” -- BookPage
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the story of hope and survival against incredible odds and the power of love.” -- Popsugar
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document.. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.” -- Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
“As many interviews as I did with Holocaust survivors for the Shoah Foundation and as many devastating testimonies as I heard, I could not stop reading THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ—an extraordinary story of love so fierce it sustained people enduring the unimaginable. Read it, share it, remember it.” -- Jenna Blum, NYT and international bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family
“Based on a true story, the wrenching yet riveting tale of Lale’s determination to survive the camp with Gita is a moving testament to the power of kindness, ingenuity, and hope.”
“What an extraordinary and important book this is. We need as many memories of the Holocaust as we can retain, and this is a moving and ultimately uplifting story of love, loyalties and friendship amidst the horrors of war.” -- International bestseller Jill Mansell
“Although one might suspect that there’s far more to his past than is revealed here, much of Lale’s story’s complexity makes it onto the page. And even though it’s clear that Lale will survive, Morris imbues the novel with remarkable suspense.”
From the Back Cover
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
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I have read so many stories of this time, some good and some not so, some acclaimed and some relatively unknown. The Tattooist of Aushwitz is by far the best. Heather’s ability to make written words come to life is a true gift. This is one of those books that I will carry in my soul forever.
I was surprised to see so many positive reviews! A few others have been able to concisely pinpoint the problem with the writing - mainly the book is a narrative shell that primarily glosses over the struggle of surviving such dire circumstances to focus on a love plot with little dimension. Elementary prose and cheesy one-liners dominate this novel.
At the very least, I appreciate the attempt to bring light to such a unique, real-life love story....
There are times you read books for entertainment and times you read for knowledge. This may be a bit of both because it involves a love story too - Lale and Gita. But oh, the horror of their situation.
Going with my usual format...
Is it worth the cost? $7.99 - yes, absolutetly.
Is it a page turner?
Yes, it is. Ordinarily, I would argue that this kind of book does not need to be a page turner because that's not the point... but it is.
Did I think about this book when I was not reading this book?
Not at first, I was able to put it down for a week and go on with my trip. But as I got further involved, I found myself thinking about Lale's story more and more and wanted to get back to the book.
Will I think about this book once I am finished?
Lale's story stays with you. As mentioned above, I actually visited Auschwitz while reading this book. On display are many photos of prisoners arriving, prisoners on their way to be gassed, murdered prisoners, starving prisoners. Frankly I could not look - it was too hard to put a face to such horrors. For me, this book gave a name to the millions of people who perished at Auschwitz and who lived too.