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The Girl from Krakow: A Novel Paperback – September 1, 2015
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“A sweeping novel encompassing 1930s Paris, the slums of Krakow, war-torn Spain, and Nazi-occupied Germany, The Girl from Krakow follows Rita Feuerstahl through good times and bad. Well researched and well imagined, the novel expands historical data into full, vivid scenes. Delicate issues and situations are faced head-on and unapologetically, a testament to Rosenberg’s abilities. Fans of historical fiction or readers looking for something new after finishing Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (2014) will enjoy Rosenberg’s story of reinvention, self-discovery, the power of personal connections, and the kindness of strangers.” —Booklist
“[The Girl from Krakow] is a page-turner with a focus on how ordinary people cope when trapped in totalitarian systems. Rosenberg has done his homework on wartime Poland, Russia, and Germany, so that rather than using the period as window dressing, he vividly brings to life what it might have felt like, day to day, to navigate this distorted world. Combined with its strong characters, Rosenberg’s novel is a winner.” —Publishers Weekly
"When a prominent philosopher like Alex Rosenberg turns his mind to writing a novel, there is reason to celebrate. With vivid, fast-paced storytelling verve, Rosenberg sweeps us across Europe during a morally fraught decade in a novel that is as sure to make you think as to feel." —Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction
“Rita’s story of survival will appeal to aficionados of historical, Holocaust, and war fiction.” —Library Journal, Audio Book Review
About the Author
Alex Rosenberg is an American philosopher and the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. Rosenberg has written many books, including The Atheist’s Guide to Reality. The Girl from Krakow is his first novel. It is based on the experiences of several individuals through the 1930s and World War II.
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As for nitpicking: an oberst is not a captain, the few German phrases in the book are mostly wrong.and the US 44th Infantry Division probably did not liberate Heidelberg. There is also a lot about the implications of Darwinism and this part might have been shorter.
But, all in all, this book is definitely one to read and keep.
What I enjoyed about this story was that how it also tells not only Rita’s, but also her lover’s story, who finds himself also in hiding, but only on the other side of the frontline – in the Soviet Union. The parallels drawn between these two super powers, the German Reich and the Soviet Union are very interesting and very truthful. I’ve been studying this period of time in both Nazi occupied Europe and Russia for a long time and found all the events and details accurate and very well researched.
Overall, it was a great historical novel which I highly recommend reading to everyone.
Upon reading some of the reviews here I decided to edit my review and include more detail.
Yes there were some sex scenes, they weren't too graphic and were certainly not the highlight of the chapter they were in. When living in constant fear does carpe diem not eventually set in? I found some of the 1star reviews complaining about this very unfair and narrow minded. Blessed and lucky are we all do never have had to face such emotional turmoil to lose our inhibitions for sake of not becoming numb.
The ending left me sobbing.