I have always been fascinated by historical fiction set in the Holocaust; I think it has something to do with the stories of human survival. I find myself completely enveloped in these types of novels. The characters are what make them. I relish in their tenacity and cheer for them as they defy odds. I cry for their loss. I will them to live. Needless to say, this novel gave me all the feels.
Mischling, by Affinity Konar, is the fictional the story that surrounds Pearl and Stasha, twin sisters, as they arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. Immediately, they become part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo. As the girls fight for survival, Stasha finds herself alone as Pearl disappears and the camp is liberated. Stasha must discover what life will be like on her own, outside the camp and imagine a future for herself.
This novel was beautifully horrifying. I wanted to cover my eyes but Konar’s prose was completely enchanting. It was poetic and fantastical. In all honestly, her writing style reminded me a little bit of Kate Hamer. I also loved that the novel is narrated through the eyes of the twins; all the horrors at Auschwitz are seen but seen with naivety. Konar could have easily used shock value to hook her reader by describing Mengele’s sick experiments at length. Instead, she chooses to develop her characters and make the focus of the novel on the relationship between sisters.
Although this novel is considerably slower paced, I could not help but become completely absorbed with the plot. This novel is not just your typical Holocaust fiction; it is a tale of survival, of loss, of forgiveness and revenge but also of friendship and family.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this novel. I would recommend it to fans of Kate Hamer or historical fiction. It is absolutely worth the read.