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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: A Fable [Hardcover]

John Boyne
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (757 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2006
Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution or the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st Edition edition (1 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385611358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385611350
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 14 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (757 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. The winner of two Irish Book Awards, he is the author of eight novels for adults and four for younger readers, including the international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was made into a Miramax feature film and has sold more than six million copies worldwide. His novels are published in over forty-five languages. He lives in Dublin. www.johnboyne.com.

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Boyne's The Boy in Striped Pyjamas will no doubt acquire many readers as a result of the subsequent film of the novel, but viewers of the latter would do themselves a favour by going back to the spare and powerfully affecting original book. Bruno is nine years old, and the Nazis’ horrific Final Solution to the ‘Jewish Problem’ means nothing to him. He's completely unaware of the barbarity of Germany under Hitler, and is more concerned by his move from his well-appointed house in Berlin to a far less salubrious area where he finds himself with nothing to do. Then he meets a boy called Shmuel who lives a very different life from him -- a life on the opposite side of a wire fence. And Shmuel is the eponymous boy in the striped pyjamas, as are all the other people on the other side of the fence. The friendship between the two boys begins to grow, but for Bruno it is a journey from blissful ignorance to a painful knowledge. And he will find that this learning process carries, for him, a daunting price.

A legion of books have attempted to evoke the horrors of the Second World War, but in this concise and perfectly honed novel, all of the effects that John Boyne creates are allowed to make a maximum impact in a relatively understated fashion (given the enormity of the situation here). The Boy in Striped Pyjamas is also that rare thing: a novel which can affect both children and adults equally; a worthy successor, in fact, to such masterpieces as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye -- both, of course, books, dealing (as does this one) with the loss of innocence. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"An account of a dreadful episode, short on actual horror but packed with overtones that remain in the imagination. Plainly and sometimes archly written, it stays just ahead of its readers before delivering its killer punch in the final pages" Independent "A small wonder of a book. Bruno's education is conducted slowly, through a series of fleeting social encounters rather than by plunging him into a nightmare landscape" Guardian "An extraordinary tale of friendship and the horrors of war seen through the eyes of two young boys, it's stirring stuff. Raw literary talent at its best. More please!" Irish Independent "Quite impossible to put down, this is the rare kind of book that doesn't leave your head for days. Word of mouth should be strong and this has the potential to cross over to an adult audience. A unique and captivating novel, which I believe deserves huge success" The Bookseller "Overwhelmingly powerful ... This is a story so exceptional and vivid that it cannot be erased from the mind" Carousel

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
402 of 428 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A READ TO REFLECT ON 8 April 2006
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
When I bought this book I wasn't sure what to expect; the blurb was very secretive about the content of the book. I was reading it with the thought of passing it on to my year 6 class, to try and lure them away from J.Wilson's teen-reads!
At first, it felt like a light read, for a book which says it isn't suitable for nine year olds; however, it becomes a lot darker the further you get into the story. As an adult, you can see beyond what the child sees and hears (this can be disturbing at times). I could not put this book down and read it in two days!
I won't spoil the ending for those who choose to buy it. The book as a whole left me thinking, which is a good thing. I am not sure if I would recommend it to the majority of my 11 year olds;however, I think a mature child would find it a thoughtful read.
I will be passing it on to one or two adults and children; I also think I may read it again in time I think a second reading may bring more subtext to the suface.
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171 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A parable that will stay with you... 13 Sep 2008
By Michelle Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I'm sure that this is a book that most people have now heard of, especially with the film now released. However, it's probably approached with as least pre-information as possible. I prefer the synopsis that the book originally had..

"The story of "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about. If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence. We hope you never have to cross such a fence."

It is listed as a children's book, but it's not for younger children, and it's certainly an adult book aswell. If you haven't yet read it, don't go searching the reviews, just pick up the book, and read it in the way it was intended.

The book is told in a simple manner, reflecting the innocence and naivety of Bruno. I believe it's meant to be read in the same way as a parable or fable, it's not meant to be a historically accurate text. To me, it was a simple, very effective piece of story telling, which brought me to a stand still, made me cry, and has stayed very much in my thoughts.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By J. H. Bretts VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I think this is a terrific book, one that crosses over the boundary between children and adult fiction to appeal very widely. However, it is still a very disturbing portrait of Nazi Germany, vividly showing how fascist ideology and a patriarchal culture twisted and distorted the world - and could do so again. The ending is as powerful as any I've read in a work of fiction. What prevents me giving it five stars through is that the author never completely convinced me that the nine year old son of a high ranking Nazi official living in Berlin could absorb so little of what was going on around him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manipulative but still moving 2 Mar 2008
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I want to start by saying that I found this a very effective book, albeit a shade too emotionally manipulative.

John Boyne's central character of Bruno takes us through the upheaval of having his 'normal' life in Nazi Berlin upturned when his father is given a new and apparently highly pretigious job in a place Bruno calls 'Out-With'. Through flashbacks, we get the background to why this move is necessary and the effect that this has on Bruno's family. I think the flashback involving Bruno's grandmother is particularly well-handled as we are shown a woman deeply troubled by the path that her son (Bruno's father) has taken and finally driven to speak her mind.

'Showing rather than telling' is very much evident throughout the book, particularly when the focus shifts to what's going on in Out-With. Reading this as an adult, I'm uncertain as to how quickly a child would catch on to what is actually happening to Bruno and more particularly, his friend, Shmuel. I also think that the implied affair between Bruno's mother and the bullying Lieutenant Kolter is perhaps a shade too subtle and personally, I questioned its necessity for the plot (not least given the obvious age difference between those characters and because I wasn't quite convinced by the reaction of Bruno's father).

Where I do think that Boyne succeeds is conveying the horror of the violence without ever showing it on the page. This is particularly effective in the scene where Kolter takes out his rage and embarrassment at having revealed his father's disloyalty to the regime on Pavel, the Jewish doctor forced to wait on Bruno's family at dinner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Become a few years younger 30 Nov 2007
Format:Paperback
When I read this book, at points it made me feel like I was a child again. It narrates all from a young boy's point of view and brings back memories on how one thought process worked back then. His misunderstandings and frustration come across well even though it is a short read.

At points I personally felt frustrated as I wanted to jump into the book and stop what was going on as the main character being youthfully naiveté draws you in.

It covers a very innocent friendship that leads to something more sinister. It makes you realize that the older we get, the more we focus on each others differences rather then the benifits we can bring to one another.

Pick it up, reads easy throughout.. Will go nicely with you on the daily commute or even a few pages here and there. Good read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting but sad book about the strange friendship between a...
An interesting but sad book about the strange friendship between a German officer/camp commandant's son and an inmate of the prison camp. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Bertie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a super read
Published 4 days ago by Dudley Tweed
5.0 out of 5 stars The innocence of the young can be delightful and funny but this book...
The book created mixed emotions. The innocence of the young can be delightful and funny but this book also tugs at your heart - powerful and extremely sad. Well written.
Published 10 days ago by Elaine flack
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read.
Published 10 days ago by miss a b l riley
5.0 out of 5 stars True literature
a local school was studying this for GCSEs and I at 24 decided to see what I had missed out on. a very charming and innocent young boy viewing the life of wartime Poland. Read more
Published 11 days ago by katie owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very pleased nice reading
Published 13 days ago by fishy
5.0 out of 5 stars John Boyne’s book acts as yet more proof of that… It’s rather like a...
I guess John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas will be considered by many (more thoughtful) readers as, up until now, one of the satirical masterpieces of the new... Read more
Published 15 days ago by @WritingOnACloud
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read but very sad
Better than the film - although the film was very moving
Published 19 days ago by Michael Bowley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book. Would recommend it. Arrived in plenty of time. Packaged well.
Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read
Published 25 days ago by red-star8
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dangerous historical inaccuracy 31 7 Nov 2011
Surely the wire would have been electrified? 17 28 Sep 2011
the boy in the striped pyjamas 1 8 Apr 2009
fiction within fact? 4 8 Apr 2009
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