The Most Precious of Cargoes a tale

by Jean-Claude Grumberg

Book, 2020



Call number

736 GRU



New York City : HarperVia, 2020


Set during the height of World War II, a powerful and unsettling tale about a woodcutter and his wife, who finds a mysterious parcel thrown from a passing train. Once upon a time in an enormous forest lived a woodcutter and his wife. The woodcutter is very poor and a war rages around them, making it difficult for them to put food on the table. Yet every night, his wife prays for a child. A Jewish father rides on a train holding twin babies. His wife no longer has enough milk to feed both children. In hopes of saving them both, he wraps his daughter in a shawl and throws her into the forest. While foraging for food, the wife finds a bundle, a baby girl wrapped in a shawl. Although she knows harboring this baby could lead to her death, she takes the child home. Set against the horrors of the Holocaust and told with a fairytale-like lyricism, The Most Precious of Cargoes is a fable about family and redemption which reminds us that humanity can be found in the most inhumane of places.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Beamis12
"Once upon a time, in a great forest....." So, is this a fairytale? We,, it does have a woodcutter and a woodcutters wife and they are poor and cold. The cold changes, but never the hunger. Are fairytaes even real? Mmmmmm, many are created among true events and most of these takes contain good and
Show More

The woodcutters wife dearest wish is to have a child, but her husband, who works and drinks very hard, is glad not to have another mouth to feed. The war has effected much in her woods, and train tracks have been laid. Now, a train passes daily and the wife has much time on her hands. She times her day to be present when the train passes. She is convinced that one day the train will give her a gift. And then one day........

You see the war is on and there is much evil, but also much love. The evil will do anything to complete their dark and horrific plans. But those that can love, will make many sacrifices for those they love as will those who will risk much to help others.

This is a both a heartbreaking tale and a beautiful one. Beauty and light can sometimes be found in darkness, not often enough, but it does. We see it and hear about it soon the time. So, is this a fairy tale? Read it and decide for yourself.

ARC from Edelweiss
Show Less
LibraryThing member Iudita
This is a beautiful and moving fairy tale. I really enjoyed reading it, but I just didn't think it was substantial enough to give it more than 3 stars.
LibraryThing member PriscillaM
This story (fairy tale?) is so beautiful but also so sad. The story of a lonely woodcutters wife who is gifted a most precious thing to look after at a time in history where the world was at war. There were unspeakable atrocities and great danger and tragedy. Yet out of this little story the author
Show More
manages to capture such elements of love and also hope to sustain the beautifully drawn characters.
Show Less


2757878727 / 9782757878729
Page: 0.1152 seconds