Top critical review
One of the worst 'novels' ever!
22 October 2018
Quite frankly, this is an abomination of a book. It dresses itself up as a novel but it is a very badly written biography, if you can believe the events contained within it. It has no poetry, no soul, no dramatic tension, no suspense. Having read Primo Levi's beautifully written masterpiece 'This is Man' and, to a certain extent, 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', (though the film improved on the book), I was hoping for something that might offer a different angle on the atrocities that took place in Auschwitz. This is, to be brutal, Auschwitz soft porn. The central character is abhorrent and the events that he is supposed to have survived stretch credibility to breaking point and beyond. Structurally it seems to use Lale's experiences as a warped theme park ride through the bad bits of Birkenau and Auschwitz. As for the the portrayal of Josef Mengele (a pantomime villain who appears every now and then to imaginary audience boos and hisses), his treatment of Leon is was almost straight out of Monty Python. If I could have given this negative stars, I would. In the canon of Holocaust books, this scrapes the barrel. It cheapens and defiles the worst atrocity in the history of mankind.