Mischling a novel

by Affinity Konar

Book, 2016

Barcode

123462003

Call number

FIC KON

Collection

Publication

New York : Little, Brown and Company , 2016

Description

Pearl is in charge of: the sad, the good, the past. Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member flourgirl49
This is a desolate and depressing depiction of one of the most horrifying events ever to take place in this world - the torturous medical experiments that Mengele perpetrated on Jewish children, focusing on twins Pearl and Stasha. Fortunately, the writing is not so graphic that you wouldn't be able
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to get through it - and I say "fortunately" because it's an important story to be told which should never, ever be forgotten. Getting back to the actual book, I was disappointed in the ending, which seemed very abrupt to me, but in the larger scheme of things, this is a minor complaint.
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LibraryThing member JReynolds1959
I have not been so moved by a book in a very long time. I haven't cried at a book in a very long time. This book has done both for me.
So well-written and you are so invested in these two girls. Terrible things that went on during that war are so hard to even imagine. The book does not get gory,
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but doesn't have to. The gore is from the thoughts of the young children.
To me, this is a book that should be listed on the 1001 books to read before you die list.
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LibraryThing member ozzer
MISCHLING is not your usual Holocaust novel. Not to be misconstrued, there is plenty of horror in this book, but Konar approaches it obliquely through the eyes of the 12 year-old Zagorski twins, Pearl and Stasha. Konar aptly refers to her book as a story of “masking and then unmasking.” These
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youthful narrators are prone to obscuring and misunderstanding the horrors they face and this serves them for a time as a successful coping method until it ceases to work. The atrocities of the Holocaust and Mengele’s cruel “experiments” have been well documented, so the reader knows what Pearl and Stasha are really facing without Konar having to spell it out. Instead, she manages to create narrative tension through the voices and language of her two narrators. Using their interior monologues, she skillfully focuses on the ordeals that twins and disabled children must have faced in Auschwitz at the hands of the psychopathic “Uncle Doctor.”

The plot of MISCHLING comes in two parts pre- and post-liberation. In the first, Pearl and Stasha are assigned to Mengele’s Zoo where they are separated from each other. Pearl is tortured while Stasha is kept as an experimental control. The twins are extremely close. They like to play a game where they read each other’s mind. But Mengele separates them and this proves to be a form of torture for both. Pearl is an introvert and highly observant. She keeps notes of their experiences. Stasha is the extrovert. She develops close alliances with other children in the zoo, plots revenge, and pines for her sister. Mengele is not a prominent character in the story. Instead he appears as a shadowy and threatening presence in the twins’ world. By contrast, the other characters appear as heroic figures. Bruna, the Romani albino, is self-confident and brazen. Twins' Father attempts to rescue children by passing them off as twins. Dr. Miri, a Jewish physician forced to assist Mengele, is profoundly conflicted about her role. She speaks of it after the liberation, “These are only some of the brutalities I can speak of. They are too innumerable and varied, so grotesque — I do not have the words.” Peter has a favorable position in the camp as the Nazis’ messenger. He develops a caring relationship with Pearl. Feliks has lost his twin brother to Mengele’s barbarism, a condition that Stasha can appreciate. Following the liberation of the camp, they embark on a hapless journey to find and punish Mengele.

The post-liberation part of the novel follows the former inmates as they are either marched to their deaths by Nazi guards, or liberated by the Russians. Konar manages to capture the total chaos that must have prevailed after liberation. In their travels to Warsaw looking for Mengele, Stasha and Feliks encounter multiple adversities, including other refugees, Jewish fighters seeking to kill Nazi sympathizers, and hostile villagers. Action adventure drives this section, and thus it seems to fall short of the subtler and more meditative quality of the earlier part. Pearl’s journey to Krakow in a wheelbarrow works better because of the guilt and psychological pain being experienced by her two companions, Twins’ Father and Dr. Miri. The ending of the novel seems too contrived and too redemptive. One doubts that “happily ever after” would be in store for most of the people so damaged by this experience.

Konar’s research is evident in her deft re-imagination of Auschwitz in 1944. In addition to the bizarre world of Mengele’s Zoo, she also relates how the Nazis stored seized possessions in a facility the inmates called “Canada” and the brothel servicing guards known as “Puff.”

In general the writing is excellent, seamlessly blending reality with fantasy using lyrical prose. However, distinguishing between the two was often problematic. Likewise, the choice of mischling as the title seems enigmatic because the word was used by the Nazis to denote people of mixed Jewish and Aryan heritage. Clearly this was not the case with Pearl and Stasha.
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LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
Striking, and written with a such gorgeous language that the story almost takes on the qualities of a fairy tale, this book is still one which suggests, at only a glance at the blurb on its back, that it will be a difficult read--and, it is. The book follows 12-year-olds Stasha and Pearl, twin
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girls sent to Auschwitz in 1944 who are then pulled into the circle of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, to be a part of his experiments within the concentration camp.

Without doubt, that sentence alone is enough to send some readers running away from the book. Others, just as certainly, will read the book blurb's first few sentences and put the book down, or begin it... and leave it unfinished. Before I read it, I heard the beginning was difficult to get through, and knowing the subject, I prepared myself to dive into it--perhaps, since I read an awful lot of dark books (though normally not so based in fact/history as this one is), I managed the beginning alright, and in fact expected worse. And yet, still, there were times when the emotion, and the reminder that this was based in truth more than fiction, made it so that I had to put the book down, and I even thought once about not finishing, I admit -- but then I kept going, and was glad I had. But, in truth, it was the last part of the book that was most difficult for me personally to read, so that I have to mention it, as well. I suppose it comes down to whether you can more easily read about immediate pain or drawn-out grief, or torture or its aftermath, which will determine whether the beginning or the end of the book is more difficult. For me, the ending pieces of the book made the whole story all the more real, and painful almost tangible, albeit that this was a story peopled only occasionally by real characters, and I probably took twice as long to get through the final six chapters as I did the first 3/4ths of the book.

But, was it worth it? Yes.

Affinity Konar has pieced together a masterful and emotional view into not only characters placed in Mengele's so-called 'zoo', but into the beauty, love, emotion, and survival involved within such walls as these found at Auschwitz--but without, for even a moment, romanticizing or easing the view. She hasn't dwelled on the pain or the physicality of it, or even the grief, but she has not avoided any of that, either. It's not a story that's easily read, as beautifully written and carefully researched and fast-moving (yes, fast-moving) as it is. And as someone who writes, I can't imagine the pain involved in writing it and living with the characters she's peopled this work with. But at the same time, it is an important and powerful work of fiction. More than any non-battlefield WWII fiction I've read, this carries with it a weight of history and emotion that, for me, makes it all the more beautiful and terrible.

Not all readers will be able to read this. If I were still teaching contemporary literature, I imagine I'd tell my students they Should read it, but feel that I couldn't ask them to, and I imagine I'll tell others about this book and only recommend it carefully, or half-heartedly, knowing what a difficult read it is. I'm not sure I could give it as a gift or demand anyone, student or otherwise, go through it--it's that difficult a read because of the content, and the weight involved in the story. But, that said, it is also a book which is remarkable and careful, and utterly worth reading if you can.
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LibraryThing member susan0316
Mischling is a term that was used by the Third Reich to describe people who had Aryan and Jewish blood. The novel begins when 12 year old twins Pearl and Stasha are in a cattle car bound for Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944 along with their mother and grandfather. When they arrive, the twins
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are sent to 'the Zoo' by Dr Mengle. The Zoo is where he kept twins, triplets and other children that he thought were interesting so that he could perform physical and mental experiments on them. In this area, they had a little more freedom but the things that were done to them were unimaginable. This story is told through the eyes of Pearl and Stasha in alternating chapters.

Pearl and Stasha are definitely two halves of the whole. Pearl remembers the past and the sad while Stasha is assigned to remember the funny and the future. They are so connected that they know what each other is thinking and feeling until they start trying to block the pain that Dr Mengle is inflicting on them to keep the other from feeling their pain. They make friends and learn to live in their new environment because they are told that their cooperation will help their mother and grandfather. Their story is heartbreaking but there is also hope for the future sprinkled through their stories.

I am not going to tell you that this is an easy book to read. I had to put it down more than once because I just couldn't imagine what was being done to these children in the name of medicine. One good thing is that the author doesn't go into great detail about the experimentation but if you are at all familiar with this time period, you know what's happening. I am definitely glad that I read this book and I know that the characters of Pearl and Stasha are going to stay in my mind. Will you cry while you read it -- ABSOLUTELY -- but you will also see those small opportunities for hope in the future.
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LibraryThing member Susan.Macura
This is a beautifully written story about one of the most horrific times in our world’s history. In 1944 12-year-old Jewish twins Pearl and Stasha were brought to Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. Their father had disappeared before they were taken and told he had committed suicide.
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Once at Auschwitz, the twins were chosen to take part in the cruel and inhumane experiments of Josef Mengele. Ultimately separated, the twins fought to survive against overwhelming odds with the help of others, even as they became aware of their mother and grandfather’s deaths. Finally freed, they seek vengeance and each other. This is an amazing fictional account of that time period and what man is capable of, both good and evil.
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LibraryThing member jjaylynny
Many people won't read this book because the subject matter is brutal, the story is brutal, just to think about what people do to other people is brutal. But then they would miss the wonder of the language, the finely wrought descriptions of beauty found in horror, and they would miss a strange and
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wonderful story of hope. There are some issues with the plot, yes, but by the time that happens you seriously don't give a sh*t.
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LibraryThing member jmchshannon
Mischling is as dark as you can imagine given its subject matter, making it a very difficult read at times. Ms. Konar is never explicit in her descriptions, and many of Mengele’s experiments occur offstage. In many ways, this makes it worse. Not only does your imagination fill in the blanks for
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you, but when Pearl or Stasha do mention the damage wrought by Mengele, it is done with such innocence that the horror of what they experience hits you like a bolt of lightning.

What ultimately saves the story is their innocence. No matter what tortures they face, Pearl and Stasha maintain their faith in each other and in a better world filled with love. They never lose the childlike innocence, which is both a marvel and a tragedy given what they face in the camp. Their connection to each other is the stuff of legends, and one can understand why doctors would be interested in their bond – even if Mengele’s methods of studying such things are downright depraved. The true beauty lies in their relationships to their fellow Zoo inmates, the willingness to endanger themselves for others, and the protection they afford one another when things get truly bad.

We have all heard about conditions at Auschwitz for the general population, so viewing the camp from the relative protection of Mengele’s Zoo is a unique and chilling experience. The nonchalance with which the girls reference the constant “snow”, the crematorium ovens, guard cruelty, random violence, starvation, and the sadistic arrival procedures for new prisoners is difficult to stomach at times. On the one hand, one can view it as a coping mechanism; when surrounded by such constant death and despair, there is no doubt that fatalism sets in at some point in time. At other times though, there is a tinge of smugness in the descriptions, as if Pearl and Stasha are taking pleasure in their relative safety as one of Mengele’s pets. It is a disturbing glimpse into the psychological trauma occurring because of the close proximity to daily death and torture.

In spite of its horribleness, there is something profoundly beautiful about Mischling. The language itself is breathtakingly beautiful, bordering on poetic. Ms. Konar balances the dark with the light, following a sentence filled with horror with one that is simple and filled with hope. The language demands to be savored and absorbed, even while one wants to skim over the passages that highlight the experiments or the aftermath of them. Mischling is not a novel that one races to finish. It is not even the type of novel one particularly enjoys reading, but what you receive from it is worth every painstaking second.
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LibraryThing member santhony
Could you possibly conceive of a more depressing and potentially horrifying novel, than one set in the Auschwitz concentration camp? Actually, yes; you could set the novel within the camp, in the laboratories of Josef Mengele, as seen through the eyes of a pair of twins who were subjects of his
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macabre experiments.

Many people will pass on this novel, for obvious and very well understood reasons. All I can tell you is that the author has somehow made this work very readable, without in any way lessening the horror of the activities which took place, and that is quite an accomplishment. The events of the novel are related through the eyes of the two young girls in a somewhat hazy and ethereal fashion, which at the same time, informs the reader of the many atrocities committed at the camp, without being overtly graphic or specific. While I am not usually a fan of this type of writing, I’ve got to say that in this case, it was perhaps the only way to relate the story to a general audience.

The first half of the novel takes place within the camp, while the second half covers the period immediately following “liberation” of the camp and the subsequent wanderings of Mengele’s subjects throughout the Polish countryside. A very depressing subject, but one that in this case, is beautifully presented.
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LibraryThing member St.CroixSue
A harrowing tale of twin sisters who are fighting to survive World War II and its aftermath. In 1944 the twins, Sasha and Pearl arrive at Auschwitz and become part of the experimental population of ‘Mengele’s Zoo.’ Brutal, with moments of beauty and hope. I highly recommend it.
LibraryThing member lvmygrdn
Author did a lot of research and it shows. Well done. I still think about Stasha and Pearl.
LibraryThing member Pmaurer
Story narrates the lives of a pair of twins assigned to be studied under Joseph Mengela's reign of terrot in Hitlers concentration camps. The story is told mostly from the perspective of the stronger, surviving twin. Bleak, horrific tale.
LibraryThing member angiestahl
This book is well-written and told. I'm glad it exists, but not necessarily glad to have read it.

The story unfolds through alternating narration of a set of twin girls - Pearl and Stasha. They are taken to Auschwitz where they live in Mengele's "Zoo," where they and others are subjected to
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torturous medical "experiments."

While neither grisly or graphic, there were a couple of scenes that were so appalling that I felt heart-sick and wasn't sure I could finish the book. Historical record is relentless. Knowing there were so many people who suffered dreadfully at the hands of other human beings is a real-life horror.

It's not a book I could recommend, though I wouldn't dissuade anyone drawn to read it. As important as it is to keep a remembrance of this time in history, reading it felt like carrying an emotional burden without any way or place to release it.
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LibraryThing member Amante
Didn't finish the book, got bored about halfway through
LibraryThing member sensitivemuse
I don't know what to say except it was a beautifully written novel given the subject matter. It's never easy to write about this particular period in history and never will be. However at least what an author can do is make it readable and make it a good story worthwhile to read.

You really do feel
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for Stasha and Pearl once they're herded into the camp and are used as experimental fodder to play with. You see both of them mature rapidly and have their childhoods robbed from them near the start of the novel. They were already close to begin with yet because of the circumstances they're closer with them trying to hold and support each other. It's almost heartbreaking to read because without one, the other just simply feels they don't exist.

As to when Pearl disappears, you feel the separation anxiety as you progress through the novel. You feel Stasha's pain and emptiness. Her other half is gone and she has no idea if she's alive or not. You can feel the void within Stasha and as you continue reading, you're still feeling the pain and you're wondering throughout the novel if she will ever see Pearl again. This is great writing on the authors part as you can distinctly feel what the characters are feeling throughout the novel.

There's a small cast of characters in this book. Some stand out more than others. Bruna stood out for me a lot. I loved every aspect of her and her strength. Then you have Peter, Feliks and the nursing staff at the camp. You don't get attached to them as much as Pearl and Stasha are the main ones to be focused on. However, for me, I really loved Bruna.

The only criticism I would have for this book is I found it sometimes a little too wordy and poetic at times. It made it for some areas of the book hard to follow - it would be best to avoid this type of writing. Yes it sets the mood and makes it melancholy but the subject matter itself is already sad and tragic to begin with. I believe that's enough as it is.

Definitely recommended for those that are interested in this particular historical period.
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LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
Mischling, Affinity Konar, author; Vanessa Johansson, narrator.
The book was set in 1944, and the abomination of Hitler’s Germany was still thriving. At twelve years old, twins Stasha and Pearl Zagorski were riding in a cattle car with their mother and grandfather. Their father had already
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disappeared, never to return, after he went out to tend a sick child near the hour of curfew. Now the rest of the family was on their way to Auschwitz, one of the worst Concentration Camps, a death camp, which was also the home of the brutal and sadistic Dr. Josef Mengele. This horrid doctor also went by many other aliases after the war, as he successfully escaped and avoided the justice he so richly deserved for the crimes against humanity he had committed. This story is narrated alternately by each of the twins. Their stories are the stuff of nightmares, but sadly, their stories are based on history. Their stories actually occurred. It is hard to read, but it is necessary to learn and understand man’s capability to do harm, to understand the insanity that sometimes afflicts human beings, and in understanding, perhaps to prevent it from occurring once again.
Both girls were separated from their grandfather and mother almost immediately upon their arrival at Auschwitz. Their mother believing that multiples, like triplets and twins, were given special consideration, pointed them out to a guard who pointed them out to the truly evil Dr. Mengele. She had no idea to what they would now be subjected, although the alternative might have meant their immediate selection for the gas chamber. Pearl and Stasha were chosen to live in the “zoo”, which is what the “Uncle Doctor” Mengele called the area in which the twins and other multiples were housed, tortured and experimented upon. Their uniqueness was considered quite an opportunity for scientific study, using them as lab rats. The nurses, doctors and soldiers were without mercy, and their cruelty seemed to know no bounds. There were a few exceptions, such as Dr. Miri and “Twins’ Father”. They cared for and tried the best they could to protect and help those poor unsuspecting children from the horror that awaited them. They were forced to participate in a charade to make the children feel safer than they ever would be, because they were prisoners too.
There is an emotional tug to this book that takes hold and does not let go as the world of these twins was shattered, as their once joyous, happy life was transformed into a dreadful experience with the ultimate aim of breaking their spirits and their bodies, of destroying them for the sake of science. They were considered vermin like all the others that did not fit the picture of Hitler’s pure Aryan German specimen.
Dr. Mengele could only be considered vile and insane, sadistic and brutally cruel beyond the imagination of any normal human being. How the captive and tortured children learned to survive and find hope and a bit of happiness in the darkness of the world that Mengele created for them, was awe-inspiring, especially since the author researched the background of the “zoo” to make it as authentic as possible, and such things, therefore, did actually exist and occur, not only in her imagination, but, in fact, at the death camp, Auschwitz.
The Holocaust destroyed generations of Jewish families, lives were ended that could never be resurrected, brilliant minds were snuffed out, victims who survived were completely scarred physically and mentally by what they witnessed and lived through, altered beyond repair in some cases. Still, most tried to fight back when they could, tried to begin to live again and reproduce the beauty of their former lives. The ending seemed to be a bit unrealistic, in the breadth and scope of the salvation described, and therefore seemed a bit like a fairytale at the end, but that was the only drawback I found in the novel. All else seemed to follow the history, although the characters were fictitious, of the horror of the year or so that the young twins spent in captivity, until the end of the war and ultimate freedom.
The author’s presentation captured, with descriptive and eloquent prose, the devastation that these youngsters faced and even managed to overcome in some instances. The novel was difficult to read, but its impact was softened by the gifted presentation of the author, so the brutality, as awful as it was when depicted, could be borne by the reader. The author captured the intimacy and unique connection that multiples share in both their emotions and their intellect. She described their spiritual connection as well as their physical one, with a true portrayal of how they were often able to intuit each other’s thoughts and pain. In a coincidental connection to me, the Dr. Pearl introduced by the author at the end of the book, happened to have been my mother-in-law’s doctor so I had been privy to some of her stories prior to this reading.
As a twin, I can attest to the feeling of loss when one is no longer with the other. There is a unique emptiness that feels like the survivor is missing a piece of themselves. This, in itself, makes Mengele’s cruelty that much worse. He seemed to understand and exploit the beauty of those relationships. Still, he did no act alone, and as long as I live, I will never understand the mindset of those who went along with Hitler, his thugs and his madmen, the women who supported his barbaric, insane needs, ideas and behavior. Those who survived needed great courage to go on with the horrid memories that were imprinted upon their minds.
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LibraryThing member AnnaBastos
This was too poetic to my taste so you might as well disconsider my review if this seems to fit yours. If it doesn't seem, read on.

With many elements similar to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, how could it have gone so boring?

Stasha and Pearl are one pair among the many twins Doctor Mengele
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experiments with in the Auschwitz Zoo. One is preserved while the other receives every insane test, but that doesn't mean any of them is safe physical or mentally. While we're introduced to the many characters in the Zoo, we can only hope they'll make it alive.

The narration, divided between the sisters, is probably the big thing about this book. It is somewhat inconsistent and that makes for a good show of how their psyche deteriorates as time goes by. At the same time, the author failed to make the reading as interesting for people like me who aren't into more introspective narrations. Also, for half the book, whenever it was Stasha's turn—Pearl's was much more grounded—, she described things so... uniquely? I had no idea what was happening and no will to reread until I understood.

I can't say the characters were all that lovable. I wasn't even sure if I wanted them to get out of there alive, as it became clear they would be safe and sound ever again. One thing this book did well was to depict Mengele's cruelty in depth without being crude. In no moment the story becomes flourished, enchanting or magical but it wasn't anything close to gore. At the same time I don't recommend to the sensitive, I'm sure this could have been much more raw.

The ending wasn't bad but it lacked better explaining. I still wonder how all that was possible, and to be honest I felt a little aggravated by some reveals.

This book isn't so much about the war as an attempt to make something different. I applaud the attempt but not the result. I've seen it go great, as with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but this was a failure in my opinion. Not that easy to read even if the vocabulary is okay and not exciting in any moment, I took days and days and days. I'd have passed this could I go back in time.

Honest review based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
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
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forgiveness is even more powerful.
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LibraryThing member SoubhiKiewiet
This was beautifully written, while still being horrifying as any concentration camp book must be. I liked the overlap with The Zookeeper's Wife, which I read a few months ago. Lovely and thought provoking.
LibraryThing member ErickaS
Up until recently, I had to stop reading books set during WWII. I couldn’t take anymore horror. I was having nightmares about hiding in a subway tunnel during the Blitz. The truth is, though, that these horrors actually happened, and they were real life nightmares to so many. So, I’m not giving
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up.

Mischling is worth it, even if it’s difficult.

Stasha and Pearl are twin sisters who have been sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of Mengele’s Zoo. There are atrocities. There is torture, medical experimentation, unspeakable dehumanization. By being part of the Zoo, the sisters believe that they may be getting special treatment and their mother and grandfather are better taken care of. The torture the girls undergo, however, isn’t always explicit. Konar has a delicate hand, and many of the terrors are indirect and left up to the imagination of the reader, often to an even more powerful effect.

What I appreciated most is that the story of the sisters doesn’t end with the liberation of the camps. There is no scene of the girls grabbing a Russian soldier by the hand and being led into the sunshine through the gates. There is no “happily ever after” now that the war is over. There is only “after.” The real story starts after the horrors of the camp have ended. Now the children of Mengele’s Zoo are free, but they’re lost. They have no families, they can’t find their parents or siblings. The children and those adults who were forced to assist Mengele with his experiments are left to fend for themselves, burdened with the memories of what they had to endure, and what they had to do to others in order to survive. There were delusional rationalizations they had to construct for self-preservation, and now that clarity has come they’re not sure what’s true anymore.

Please don’t be dissuaded by the subject matter. Like I said above, Mischling is worth it. It’s worth it because it’s honest. One of the sisters is bent on revenge. She fantasizes about plans to hunt and kill Mengele. She contemplates suicide. She imagines what life may be like without her sister, and it’s unendurable. She holds on to violence and draws power from it. She seeks how to make herself whole again, but she can’t let go of her anger. This book is about moving forward, finding the strength to believe that there is an “after.”

The effects will last a lifetime, but the love they hold onto will carry them through. Mischling is sorrowful and unimaginable, but it’s also redemptive. The story of Stasha and Pearl deserves to be read.
This review is also posted on flyleafunfurled.com.
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LibraryThing member kmajort
This is a "really Liked it" but at 3.5
Review/notes to come
LibraryThing member Bookish59
A stunning, beautiful poem of a book. Twin girls Pearl and Stasha are brought to Auschwitz and are subjected to Mengele's sociopathic tortures he believed were serious experiments. He wanted to see how separated twins would react. He accomplished NOT ONE GOOD thing in his life but authored terror,
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irreparable physical and emotional harm to young children, teens and pregnant women, often causing their deaths, or killing them outright when he tired of them.

Despite the pain and abuse Mengele causes her and Pearl, Stasha proactively befriends Mengele believing it will help them survive. Pearl is more realistic, and as she weakens, tries unsuccessfully to prepare Stasha to survive on her own. Their love and efforts for each other are breath-taking, as are their friendships and help to others in the "zoo."

A very visual book I can see being made into a movie; but how a film can capture the poetic language of the feelings and thoughts will be a huge challenge.

A book that will make you cry.
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LibraryThing member GirlWellRead
A special thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Hauntingly lyrical, and shattering, Mischling is a recount of some of the Holocaust horrors that children in Auschwitz were subjected to at the hands of Dr. Joseph Mengele. Interested in twins, the emotionally stunted
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Mengele subjects them to horrific experiments.

Our narrators, thirteen year-old twins Pearl and Stasha are two halves of a whole. Stasha is in charge of the funny, the future, and takes on the bad. Pearl is the sad, the good, and the past. They are despair and loss, they are hope and light. Through Konar's thoughtful and magical prose, the girls deliver their story in two halves to the reader in the hopes of becoming whole again.

Like Doerr's quote on the jacket—if your soul can survive the journey, you'll be rewarded by by reading one of the most powerful and beautifully written books of the year.
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LibraryThing member Sharn
This book says it's 353 pages but it felt like it was 553. It was never ending for me and by the end, I just wanted it to end which is never a good sign.

Being a twin, I gravitate to twin to stories but they rarely do anything for me. The authors never seem to hit the mark. So here again, I tried
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another...

It wasn't bad but I'm glad it's done.
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LibraryThing member JaxlynLeigh
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The beginning of this book tells a little about the history of twins Pearl and Stasha and what happened when they arrived at Auschwitz. They become part of Josef Mengele's horrific experiments and do everything
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they can to hold on to each other. I am not a twin and do not know if twins experience this, but when the girls could peek into the other's mind and read their thoughts, I found it a little hard to believe. The author's style has a creative writing feel to it, which could be distracting at times in the story. I was really hooked in the beginning, but as the girls became separated, it became a little less interesting to me.
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Original publication date

2016

ISBN

0316308106
Page: 0.1879 seconds