on 25 February 2010
This book is beautifully simple in its style, yet this does not take away from the story in any way at all. It gives a unique insight into the lives of so many characters in Warsaw during German occupation. Very personal, very ordinary, yet at the same time it does not ignore the bigger picture of telling the story of the city as a whole. It does not focus on the protagonist alone, as the title might suggest. While she is the centre of attention in parts of the story, the focus is very often on those around her, and can branch off in a tangent to tell the story of one of her neighbours, or to tell of the fate of a young Jewish man. There are also some interesting jumps forward to the future of some characters who survive the war, only to become citizens on the new communist Poland. A very interesting read for anyone with an interest in the personal histories of WWII.
on 7 March 2011
Beautifully written. Each chapter introduces a different aspect of the same story. We hear the characters' internal contemplation on existence, death and time making it an intensely personalised view of Warsaw in 1940s. The narrative moves omnipotently forward and backward through time, making comparisons between this story and later 20th century tragedies leaning the book a real sense of lose and poignancy.