A Novel

Large Print - 2016 | Large print edition, First edition
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It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain. That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks -- a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin -- travel through Poland's devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2016
Edition: Large print edition, First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780316464178
Characteristics: 473 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
large print
Alternative Title: Mischling


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Dec 14, 2019

I loved this book, but it is definitely a difficult read on an emotional level. It does a very strong job conveying the horrors of that time without fetishizing them.

Nov 14, 2019

A haunting and historical glimpse of the Holocaust through the eyes of twins. Beautifully written. If you can take the horrors you will be uplifted with the hopeful beauty of the human spirit.

Aug 15, 2019

Hauntingly tragic account of twin girls trying to survive Mengele's house of horrors. Eloquently written with such emotion. An emotional read as one can only begin to imagine the real horrors that Mengele wrought at Auschwitz.

Sep 23, 2018

It took much persistence to finish this overly metaphored weighty tome. It is confusing to decipher which sister is narrating and their collective fantasies only add to it. The subject matter is compelling but author does little to provide insight to these nazi monsters. Very disappointing read

samdog123 Sep 01, 2017

A heartbreaking story of twins, Pearl and Stascha, who endured the terrors of Mengele's 'zoo' in Auschwitz. Not much is uplifting in this story, yet the writer is very talented and almost gives this setting a mystical one.

Twins Stasha and Pearl are part of Mengele's Zoo where he conducts experiments on twins to see how the other is influenced by the changes. When the sisters are separated and believe each other dead, they each seek their own path after being liberated. Stasha, hopes that Pearl still lives, but longs to kill Mengele. Pearl, just seeks to recover and survive. The language in this book is pure poetry. It is beautifully written, which is a stark contrast to the darkness of the tale. Both girls are well drawn and the story is heartbreaking. You can't help but cheer for them and wish them escape from the horrors of Mengele's lab.

Jul 04, 2017

This was challenging reading for me. Jewish twins are separated from family as they enter into a Nazi concentration camp, but where they are sent is not any better. They become part of Mengale’s human experimentation. Somehow thought she is able to show how even condemned to such cruelty, human forgiveness is even more powerful.

Jun 29, 2017

Bleak and brutal, it's a good read with good character development. The only issue is, it can be a little too poetic and lyrical for my tastes. They're young girls, and although yes, they've had to grow up fast in this situation, the words and their thoughts can be too poetic which is unnecessary. Nevertheless it's still a good book and keeps you on the edge wondering if the character will see each other again, or not.

athompson10 May 18, 2017

Grim and brutal at times, but lyrically written.

May 05, 2017

Mischling is a Holocaust novel that depicts horror couched in beautifully crafted prose. For some, Konar’s careful wordsmithing will distance them from the narrative, and the atrocities it unveils. For others, the juxtaposition will only serve to make the truth that much more poignant as it explores what it means to come of age in the midst of such a tragedy.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2017/05/04/mischling/

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May 05, 2017

Because you had no power over the fact that I was born, you took from me what I was born with—the person who was my love, the half that made me entire—and now I am lessened into this dull thing, a divided person who will live forever, wandering in search of some nothing, some nowhere, some no-feeling, to mend my pain.

ellensix Feb 10, 2017

Books had never led me in the wrong direction. It seemed foolish to try to endure without such counsel by my side.

ellensix Feb 10, 2017

Years later I would realize that her sorrow arose from taking care of the children who Uncle claimed for his own. It must have been like stringing a harp for someone who played the harp with a knife or binding a book for someone whose idea of reading is feeding pages to a fire.


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May 05, 2017

Stasha and Pearl Zamorski are twelve-year-old Polish-Jewish twins who arrive at Auschwitz in 1944 with their mother and grandfather, their father already missing and presumed dead at the hands of the Gestapo. Here they are singled out by Dr. Josef Mengele, who would become known to history as the Angel of Death. Inside Mengele’s “Zoo,” he collects genetic oddities, including giants and dwarves, albinos and people with heterochromia iridium, and most especially twins. The inmates of the Zoo receive special privileges including more food, and are allowed to keep their hair and clothes. The price is the terrible experiments carried out upon their bodies, the purpose of which they are never given to understand. How does someone survive the guilt and pain of such an experience, let alone carve out a new existence in the aftermath of liberation?


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