How could anyone alive ever kno
“They say you never hear the one that gets you, but how could anyone alive ever kno”
That’s the last you hear from one of the major characters in Mary Doria Russel’s, “A Thread of Grace”.
This book is not for the faint of heart, or of stomach. It gave me nightmares, mostly because of the feeling of helplessness one gets when one reads about the Holocaust.
As the author hopes it to be, this story not true, but it is very real.
The characters are fictional, but their plight happened. There were thousands of Renzos, Mirellas, and Schramms.
I never read much of the story of the Jews of Italy. I’ve read some of Primo Levi’s work, a long time ago. But the story of the Italian people and how they tried to protect the Jews who either lived or landed in their midst is not one I’ve heard before. It’s “Schindler’s List” on a grand scale. And it breaks your heart.
I don’t know that I enjoyed this story. It was very well written: the characters are all very easily identified with, the story line is confusing, but can be followed. But as I stated before, I read it with such a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that it was almost a painful experience.
If I honestly felt that people had learned from this history, I could at least assure myself, “It’ll never happen again.” But today’s political climate shows that people haven’t learned from this. Indeed, large portions of the world would like to deny it ever happened.
Yet, despite the fact that the overwhelming mood of the work is despair, there are great sections of this book, some loving, some ironically humorous:
“Signora Savoca lost children to influenza in 1918… she thinks the aspirin was poisoned. Her theory is that Germans were exacting revenge for their defeate in the Great War.”
“That’s absurd!” [says the German deserter.]
“Distressing to be hated because of lies, isn’t it?”
He shifts uncomfortably in his chair.
This was definitely a great reading experience, and I feel as though I have learned from the experience. But, I’m looking forward to reading my next book, a nice little ditty by Mercedes Lackey. I feel a need to smile again.