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Eva's Story Paperback – October, 1999


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A Spool of Blue Thread
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Persea Books; 1st edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086538097X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865380974
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,092,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A plainspoken love story set in rural Nazi Germany in 1936, this debut novel traces an ordinary farm woman's political awakening. Narrator Eva is an obedient wife and mother at the outset, with no worldly contact beyond her small farm outside the Black Forest. When her husband is called to serve in the army, Eva is left to maintain the farm with her teenage children, Nazi Youth members Olga and Karl. Eva's life gains a sense of purpose after she discovers Nathanael, a Jewish university student who's escaped from the Mauernich camp nearby. Initially acting on impulse, and later aware of the implications of her decision, she allows him to remain hidden in her chicken coop for what becomes two years. Nathanael helps breed and care for the chickens, keeping the farm afloat in a time of increasingly desperate food shortages and strict farm regulations. Eva's initial na?vet? is often implausible; she's never heard about the subjugation, ill-treatment or deportation of Jews, though her family and entire village are devoted Nazi citizens. But her world expands exponentially with Nathanael's arrival and the beginning of their love affair. She learns to pose as a perfect patriot, and cleverly arranges things so that Gestapo officers, farm inspectors and her children suspect nothing. When she sells eggs at market, she hears neighbors speak hopefully of collecting bounties for escaped Jews, but she also learns that the local convent has been hiding Jewish children. When Eva is pressured by a nun at the convent into taking in a Jewish orphan as a farm helper, she integrates the traumatized teenage "Mary" into her household. But Mary's arrival excites suspicion, so Eva bravely hatches an escape plan for both her lover and her ward. Cirino's understated prose lacks resonance, and flat dialogue and heavy-handed speeches keep the characters vague, their personalities inscrutable. What animates this earnest work is the inherent drama of a simple woman coming into her own identity within the tumult of a tragic time. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

With this beautifully written first novel, Cirino brings a different perspective to life in Nazi Germany. The persecution of Jews is the catalyst that propels Eva, the main character and narrator, into a world where she has no reference point. Eva's entire raison d'?tre has always been her farm and, secondarily, her husband and children. After her husband goes off to war, a young Jewish man named Nathanael turns up in her chicken coop, a place that has been her domain only. With Eva's implied consent, Nathanael stays, becoming a friend, helper, educator, and, most significantly, lover. Through Nathanael and her ever-widening forays into the world, Eva begins to allow herself to care for herself and others with an empathy she had never known. In this spirit, she plans for the escape to Switzerland of Nathanael and another refugee, and the reader senses that they will not be the last to take refuge in her chicken coop. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.APatricia Gulian, South Portland, ME
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Tedholm on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Cirino in person at the bookstore where she was signing copies. Because I am a student of German, I was intrigued by the description of the story, and decided to take a chance. It was worth it. Although the book is not perfect, it is ultimately a satisfying read. The major qualm I had was that at times, the dialogue seemed rather unrealistic; all the characters seemed to speak in Eva's voice. Also, there was a lot of weird punctuation: In places where there should be semi-colons, there were a lot of commas. I'm sure I'm probably the only person in America who would notice or care, but anyway that's something I noticed. It had the effect, in places, of lessening the power of the work, which is a shame because it is a powerful, fine book. it is not so much the tale of a "forbidden" romance as it is the story of change in one woman's life: a woman who came from generations of people who experienced little change. Nathanael and "Mary" are really simply catalysts for this woman's self-discovery, and it is a rare find. In conclusion, although this book is not perfect, it works, and is a worthwhile and entertaining and poignant read. I encourage everyone to discover Eva's Story....they might just discover an interesting part of their own.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up Eva's Story randomly a few days ago. I liked the front cover :)(I love Edvard Munch). I'm also a student of WWII and the holocaust. At first I thought Eva was the most depressing, depressed character I had ever met. The author describes her well as someone who has gone through life unflinching, uncaring, in servitude to her family and her farm. I was irritated with the character for being such a dependent creature, but I had to remind myself that she was living on a farm in Germany in 1936!! The transformation of Eva is rejuvenating and interesting. I would say the middle and the end of the story are its most interesting and compelling parts. I enjoyed seeing Eva using her brain and waking up from the dead stupor she had been living in for so long.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
at a great price and in great condition. It is a must read novel about the Holocaust and I am so glad I have it again--lost my old copy.
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