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A Meal in Winter Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Length: 176 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Review

A masterpiece. --'The 50 best winter reads', Independent

This is the most moving book I have read for a long time... Mingarelli's subject matter is supremely dark, but against all the odds, he manages to offer us a positive message. The moral complexity of the story contrasts with its straightforward delivery. Mingarelli's spare language is well suited to this luminous tale, [in which]he accomplishes a great deal. --Independent on Sunday

Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising... This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing. --Herald

This strong and simple story packs a mighty punch. --The Times

Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising... This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing. --Herald

Masterful... Mingarelli offers a new twist on the Holocaust novel. His spare prose, crisply translated by Sam Taylor, adds to the narrative's intensity and keeps you turning the pages until its poignant conclusion. --Huffington Post

Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising... This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing. --Herald

A Meal in Winter delivers a powerful punch and examines the complicity of ordinary soldiers in extraordinary acts of brutality. --'Books of the Year', Tablet

Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising... This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing. --Herald

'Short, powerful, vivid and utterly compelling' --Jewish Chronicle

Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising... This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing. --Herald

'Masterly and necessary... no intervening hand is noticeable in Sam Taylor's rendering of Mingarelli' --Times Literary Supplement

Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising... This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing. --Herald

'Brief, elegant, quietly lyrical yet driven by an inward fire, Minagrelli's novel shows that the fiction of wartime atrocity can still yield treasures' --Boyd Tonkin on the IFFP shortlist, Independent

'This cold, spare novel is a miniature masterpiece and a devastating story. Beautifully translated with clarity and pathos' --Natalie Haynes, judge of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

'Devastating... This novella was deservedly shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Crisply translated by Sam Taylor' --Paperback review, Independent

'Superb... The prose, elegantly translated by Sam Taylor, is full of rich visual descriptions. This is an enormously powerful and moving book' ***** --Paperback review, Independent on Sunday

'Its 138 pages are so memorable, so dark, so humane, it deserves to be read all over Europe. A masterpiece of empathy and horror' --Paperback review, Guardian

'A masterpiece of understatement. It's a brave and original approach to a familiar subject' --Paperback of the Week, Herald

'Its 138 pages are so memorable, so dark, so humane, it deserves to be read all over Europe. A masterpiece of empathy and horror' --Paperback review, Guardian

'It's a brave novelist who sets out to tell a Holocaust tale from the point of view of the would-be executioner but this is what Mingarelli does with great skill and admirable subtlety. A breathtaking lesson in brevity' --Paperback review, Monocle

'Its 138 pages are so memorable, so dark, so humane, it deserves to be read all over Europe. A masterpiece of empathy and horror' --Paperback review, Guardian

'A fascinating, compelling vignette from Nazi-occupied Poland explored by a masterful storyteller' ***** --RTE R --Paperback review, Guardian

'It is 138 profound pages of horror and humanity' --'Book of the Year', Irish Times

'Its 138 pages are so memorable, so dark, so humane, it deserves to be read all over Europe. A masterpiece of empathy and horror' --Paperback review, Guardian

About the Author

HUBERT MINGARELLI is the author of numerous novels, short story collections and fiction for young adults. His book Quatre soldats ([Four Soldiers], Le Seuil, 2003) won the Prix de Medicis. He lives in Grenoble. SAM TAYLOR is a translator, novelist and journalist. His translated works include Laurent Binet's award-winning novel HHhH. His own novels have been translated in 10 languages.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D2JDNP0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is a tricky book, because it is (comparatively speaking) overpriced, at £12.99 for around 130 pages of prose for the current hardback (more on this in a bit), and yet it is a sensational, highly unique piece of prose. Three German soldiers are stationed with their company in a farm in Poland. It is winter, bitterly cold, they are underfed and their morale is low. Most days they are given the task of shooting Jewish people, and can only get out of this duty by being picked to go out to hunt for Jews in the surrounding frozen woods and fields. This is a story about the lesser of two evils, about human beings, not monsters, who are preoccupied with the needs of warmth and food and the fierce desire to have a day off from executing people. Mingarelli performs a brilliant tightrope feat in this novel(la?), never forgiving the three soldiers, but instead putting the onus on us, the reader, making us think about what we would do.

Sam Taylor's translation is an example of fantastic writing, spare, emotional, and driven forward by the needs of stomach and skin. I don't think I've ever read a novel from the viewpoint of a soldier actively involved in the Holocaust, which is rather remarkable when it has such are large influence on post-WW2 literatures.

I'd wait for the paperback, though. Such a slim novel doesn't need to be hardback, and actually it just didn't work well either, especially when trying to flick back to bits read earlier. A small gripe, and I have no problem paying that much for a book (as I obviously did), but it is worth mentioning I think. The short time-frame covered and lean prose really does suit the shorter style, and I think I will be digesting this one for far longer than I will some of the longer novels I have read in the past.
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 18 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
This book was first published in 2012 (in French), and published in English translation in 2013. It is a short book, only 136 pages, but it is the resonance of the story that lingers with you, not the length of the tale.

Set during the Second World War, it tells in the first person narrative of a German soldier; one of three, sent out into the Polish countryside to ‘hunt’. Hunting Jews is, they feel, preferable to having to be one of those who shoots them. They have to take back any Jew they find to camp so they can be dealt with there, but at least it gets them away from Lieutenant Graaf. The story is told in a matter-of-fact way, but you get the feeling that it’s not what is being said, but what is being hidden away that tells the real story. The feelings of family, and of life outside of this surreal existence they now have; that is what the German soldiers would really like to talk about. But they don’t – they hunt Jews, they find somewhere to sit, smoke, think about food. They don’t discuss things like morale, or the justice of what they’re doing; but you know these thoughts are there, somewhere.

This is a tale that feels ‘real’; the story is short, but must have been played out hundreds of times; the men are faceless, yet you know they existed; those they hunt try to survive, but only because they must. The tale lingers after the last page has been turned. I found this book compelling – like ‘The Undertaking’ by Audrey Magee, it would be too much to say I enjoyed it, because how can you enjoy such a tragedy being played out before you? But it impacts on you, and surely that’s the true test of a great novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It illustrates both the best and the worst of humanity. I wonder how any of us would have reacted, as ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Deeply moving and thought provoking.
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By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 9 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
French writer, Hubert Mingarelli's first novel to be translated into English, takes us to Poland during the Second World War, where we find ourselves in a concentration camp in the dead of winter. Three German soldiers: Bauer, Emmerich and the unnamed narrator of this story, manage to temporarily escape the daily shootings of Jewish inmates, by volunteering to go out and track down any Jews who might be hiding in the Polish countryside, telling their commander that they would "rather do the hunting than the shootings". Out one morning, after trudging for hours through the snow in bitingly cold conditions, they flush out a young man hiding in a hole in the ground in the woods, and they are relieved that they do not have to go back to the camp empty-handed and find themselves back on duty exterminating the prisoners. Freezing cold, tired and hungry, the three soldiers decide to rest in a small, abandoned house before journeying back to the camp. While they are building a fire to cook their provisions, a Polish hunter arrives on the scene and, although he does not speak German, it is obvious to the three soldiers, from his reaction to the young Jew, that he is violently anti-Semitic, which causes tensions to rise even further. There, in this abandoned hovel, warmed by the food and the potato alcohol that the Pole offers them in return for a share of their food, the three men begin to ponder on the moral implications of their mission and are forced to confront their own consciences. Are they doing the right thing in capturing this young Jewish man and sacrificing his life in order to gain privileges from their camp commander - or is there another way out of their predicament?Read more ›
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