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Ringel, Rangel, Rosen by Kirsten Boie
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Ringel, Rangel, Rosen

by Kirsten Boie

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Karin's living in paradise - she's twelve, the summer holidays are long and warm and a time of wonder, of older boys, of disliking her swimsuit and trying to talk her parents into allowing her to have her to wear a modern short hairstyle. Until her best friend finds a book in the library about children forced to wear stars and who were murdered not too long ago that threatens to mar her brittle paradise with all the questions it raises, because the people who didn't stop this from happening must have been people like her parents. Her brief inquiries are unsettling - her parents don't want to talk about the war, didn't know any Jews, and when the North Sea Flood destroys her home, her life changes forever.

Set in the Hamburg of the late fifties and early sixties, this book is heartbreaking and hits close to home, not only because Karin was born in the same year as my mother, but also because Hamburg is my city and the frail and brittle peace at home she describes, with countless things you can't ask anybody or tell anyone, rings very true and was the lived reality of my grandparents in the years after the war.

The style threatened to lose me several times because the use of repetition just got too much, but just about managed to show a mind grasping at long-held convictions. ( )
  Mothwing | Jan 4, 2015 |
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