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Review: The Auschwitz Violin, Maria Angels Anglada

In the midst of Nazi Germany, passions can become more important than ever.  Young Daniel had a promising career as a luthier, a violin maker, before he was seized from his home and incarcerated in a concentration camp. He volunteered as a carpenter, knowing it was one of the better “jobs” he could have in the camp.  One day he hears a violin playing in the camp, but there’s something wrong with it.  He volunteers to fix it and suddenly finds himself creating a violin for the commander, his success quite possibly a situation of life or death, his work a reminder of the life he lived before the Nazis.

Though this book started off slow, it was rewarding in the end.  It begins in the present day with the story of a woman with an incredible violin.  Only after we realize that this violin must have been created by Daniel in the camp does it become interesting and moving.  Daniel’s appreciation for his life and his music, juxtaposed with the struggles of the prisoners, is touching and hands down the best part of the book.  He’s a truly passionate character and his story is inspiring.

On the other hand, I did feel this book was just a little too short to develop the connections I personally needed to really fall in love with the book.  It’s less than two hundred pages long, which for me is not really enough time to develop many feelings about a book.  I felt like the author also held back a little with the horrors of the Holocaust, though whether that was her or the translator I couldn’t honestly tell you.  I can’t say I need more horror in my life, but it made it somewhat hard to connect and feel the sympathy that other books have inspired, if that makes sense.  Still terrible, still gruesome things going on, but there’s a level of detachment here that isn’t necessarily present in other books.  It may be because the only character we ever get to know is Daniel – so I liked him, but I had no idea about what other characters might be thinking or feeling.

While The Auschwitz Violin is good at what it does, it wound up being too short for me – and as a result I don’t even have much more to say about it!  It’s a touching and inspiring story about passion beating oppression, but it never really captured my emotions the way I expected it to. I would still definitely recommend it to someone looking for a relatively simple story that gets its point across very well.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.

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