From Publishers Weekly
With historical sweep and accuracy, and a happy ending, this unique Holocaust memoir simultaneously elicits thrills and disquietude. Novelist and memoirist Popescu (Amazon Beaming) has rewritten the memoirs of his parents-in-law, Mirek Friedman and Blanka Davidovich, and fashioned their story of falling in love during and marrying after WWII into a cohesive narrative of interspersed first-person chapters. Their individual stories are unique and riveting: Blanka moved through various camps and job assignments, witnessing horror, enduring separation from her family and finding safety in carefully and continually breaking rules and asserting herself. Mirek, a political prisoner and an able technician who managed to keep his real Jewish identity hidden, survived the camps by doing maintenance work and defusing bombs for the SS. Their descriptions of their affair, conducted under excruciating circumstances, makes palpable their hope of surviving to make a future together. The drama unfurls intently and powerfully, filled with significant moments and insights Blanka's remembrances and contemplation of shtetl life; Mirek's attempt to smuggle a radio into the camp that gets him interrogated. In an afterword, Popescu explains how he searched for a narrative voice that would encompass both of his subjects (as well as his other background research); yet because of his curious, rather novelistic construction, Blanka's and Mirek's voices seem disconcertingly uniform. But by the end, their valor and their enthralling, remarkable determination to shape their own fates supersedes any distracting stylistic flaws.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When Mirek Friedman first caught a glimpse of Blanka as she stumbled off the train into the Dachau 3b camp, he thought to himself, "She won't survive. None of those girls will." With shaved heads, emaciated bodies, and four days without food or water, many of the prisoners were unable to pull themselves from the cattle cars. Once in the camp, they endured beatings, starvation, and the constant fear of mass extermination. And yet, in the words of one Czech freedom fighter, "Human beings are so incredible. In the direst conditions, they still yearn for love." Popescu (Amazon Beaming), the son-in-law of Mirek and Blanka, has written a riveting and ennobling account of these two brave souls who fell in love and risked death nearly every day to steal a few minutes together by a break in the fence. From its opening moments at the concentration camp to Mirek's escape, Blanka's freedom at the hands of American soldiers, and their ultimate reunion in Prague, this book offers a powerful account of love and survival. Highly recommended for all libraries. Amy Strong, East Boothbay, ME
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.