BOMG Book Review: The Trick (Emanuel Bergmann)

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After binge reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I had my sights set on reading something similar. I wanted a historical fiction novel set in the time of World War II. Browsing my bookshelves, I decided to dive into The Trick, (a novel recently translated into English) written by Emanuel Bergmann.

The story was very original and used a twist on the classic then vs. now type of narrative approach. Partially taking place in 1934, following a young Jewish man who falls in love and joins the circus as a magician and, decades later, with a young boy who seeks out the now elderly (and cynical) magician to try and bring his crumbling family back together.

I felt like this novel lacked the emotion that holocaust fiction is known for. I didn’t feel any particular connection to any of the characters. This disappointed me. Usually, I feel over-attached to characters within similar types of prose and find myself weeping by the end. The characters in this novel seemed a bit detached from the story, especially the characters within the “now” section of the narrative. I think, for me, this story would have been more successful if it had been through the eyes of the one narrative in the past. I was intrigued by the idea of the circus and the happenings during that time. Every time the switch was made into the present; I found that the author lost me.

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