- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Corsair (24 Feb. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1849013691
- ISBN-13: 978-1849013697
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Warsaw Anagrams Paperback – 24 Feb 2011
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Beautifully written, moving and disturbing, this packs a powerful, emotional punch. (Guardian)
A mystical, mesmerising murder thriller. (Lancashire Evening Post)
Gripping. (Independent i)
A rich, serious book. (Independent)
Compelling. (Jewish Chronicle)
A murder mystery and a moving exploration of the nature of good and evil come together in Zimler's riveting and intelligent novel. (BBC History Magazine)
A chilling and stunningly written mystery set in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
With relations by proxy in Poland I have been to Auschwitz, a journey every citizen should take once in their lifetime, if only to see what civilised people can do to each other. This book so adroitly shows also what civilised people can do to endure these terrible hardships and to finally overcome them. This is not a book which is easy on the mental images. The Warsaw ghetto, one of many created by the Nazis to force the Jewish inhabitants into a life of degradation and squalour and eventually on to transportation to the death camps, is brutally described by the author. And yet, through all, shines the life of Erik Cohen, an elderly psychiatrist, now attempting to discover the killer of his young great-nephew.
So begins our jouney, too, as Erik recounts his story to a friend who, in turn, chronicles every word. This is, without doubt, a murder mystery in its own right but it soon becomes clear the young boy is not the only victim. Erik calls in favours and most of all uses his extraordinarily good friend Izzy to help him discover the truth. In the event, without Izzy, I rather think Erik would have failed but this is what makes the book all the more interesting. For this human spirit permeates through the story and I think a Latin phrase used in the book sums up the courage and fortitude shown by the Ghetto inhabitants - festina lente or make haste slowly.
I'm glad I've read the book. There were no surprises for me for I am of an age that remembers only too well but the author brings such clarity and vibrancy to an otherwise sombre and heartrending situation that younger readers must surely want to learn at least a little more about Central Europe during the 1930s and 40s.
You're taken beyond the cliched images of the bewildered, haggard Jews in the ghetto which you're used to seeing in documentaries. The characters in the novel refuse to submit meekly to their fate, getting what they can out of life in such a desperate situation. In the midst of the squalor (which they often use as a source of gentle teasing of each other), they were trying to lead as normal a life as possible and Zimler gives you a heart-warming insight into their courageous refusal to give up.
You desperately want all the (good) characters to survive but even the person telling the story doesn't know who made it out alive.
I was not disappointed, and couldn't put it down. The book is told through the eyes of Erik Cohen, an elderly man, who is forced to live with his neice and 9 year old great-nephew, Adam. The year is 1940 and the Nazis have sealed 400,000 Jews inside a small area of the Polish capital. Adam goes missing and his body is later found tangled in the barbed wire which surrounds the ghetto. Erik does everything within his power to trap his nephew's killer, even putting his own life at risk in the most forbidden corners of Nazi-occupied Warsaw.
I found this book heartbreaking in places, and because the author done such a fantastic job with the detail and descriptions, it was sometimes really difficult to believe you wern't there, walking those freezing cold Warsaw streets with Erik.
If you read only one book this year, please pick up this book. It's a great story, and will keep you captivated from page 1!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was one of our book club books and I wasn't sure what to expect. Right from the very first page I was hooked. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Eager Reader
Condescendingly written, treating the reader as an idiot - simple sentences, consistently reminding the reader of what it's already clear the characters are thinking, little... Read morePublished 11 months ago by The Bear
Only reason I'm not giving this five stars is because I felt it focused a little too much on the "what's" and not enough on the "whys"
Still a cracking read,... Read more
A very good book but upsetting, as it should be as we remember the horror of the evil that drove so many to stand by or even take part in the torture and murder of so many of gods... Read morePublished 21 months ago by nmunro66
As some of the other posts have mentioned this is an unusual book and the first chapter confuses the reader a little. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Oonagh O'Byrne
To set a murder mystery in the Jewish ghettos of Nazi Warsaw is something of a stroke of genius that not only sets an immediate scene of mayhem and an added element as to which... Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2014 by Bluearmy
A beautifully written but truly harrowing story, I'll never be able to understand how this was allowed to happen.. Although I suppose it still does..Published on 28 Nov. 2013 by Esther R