Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lost Wife
by Alison Richman

Every birthday and Christmas, for as long as my kids have been alive, they receive a book as a gift.  What else would an English teacher give her children??  This year, Megan's book was The Lost Wife.  Seeing as we have pretty similar taste in books, as soon as she'd finished it, I stole it right back.

I was intrigued merely when I read how the book came about...through a real story that took place in New York city.  At a wedding, an elderly man came over to an older woman, took up her hand, and said "I think I know you."  When the woman didn't share his remembrance, he said "I believe you were my wife."  With that kind of intro, how do you not get pulled into this story?  I knew Meg would like it as it combines art, history, and a city we had all fallen in love with years ago - Prague.  It is a story of love, family, and artists during the Holocaust.  Two young people fall in love and marry, but are torn apart through evacuation, emigration, and genocide.  Much of the story takes place in Terezin, the terrible ghetto and prison where the Jews of Prague were imprisoned (pictured here when we visited in 2006).  The synagogue where they married (the oldest on continental Europe) is pictured here as well, with the ladder showing where the Golem (no, not from Lord of the Rings, but from Jewish folklore - a creature made of mud, who will rescue the Jews of Prague during pogroms).  This book tells a different side of the story of the Holocaust, one of the people left behind in the ghettos, trying to survive, but also of the refugees in America, attempting to assimilate and move beyond their past, an impossible goal.  It is a beautiful book.

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