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The Book of Aron: A novel by Jim Shepard
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The Book of Aron: A novel (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Jim Shepard (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3842652,190 (3.74)51
"Aron, [a child living in World War II Poland], is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution ... When his family is finally stripped away from him, Aron is rescued by Janusz Korczak, a doctor renowned throughout prewar Europe as an advocate of childrens' rights who, once the Nazis swept in, was put in charge of the Warsaw orphanage. Treblinka awaits them all, but does Aron manage to escape--as his mentor suspected he could--to spread word about the atrocities?"--Amazon.com.… (more)
Member:JenniferMoville
Title:The Book of Aron: A novel
Authors:Jim Shepard (Author)
Info:Knopf (2015), Edition: First Edition, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work Information

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard (2015)

  1. 00
    The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945 by Władysław Szpilman (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Szpilman's memoir is a personal account of the Warsaw Ghetto written by one of its survivors.
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» See also 51 mentions

English (24)  Esperanto (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This book is about the Holocaust and the cruelty human beings are capable of. The story takes place in the Warsaw ghetto and was brutal to read. Cruelty in this story comes not just from Nazis but from other victims. It was tough to get through and I had a hard time getting into the story as it was told mostly through dialog. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
EXCELLENT BOOK. Boy of about 8 years in the Warsaw Ghetto. Loses everything, home, family, friends, and How he keeps surviving and going on. Ends up in Janusc Korczak's orphanage. the power of our survival skills and needs and not giving up. ( )
  evatkaplan | Jun 4, 2020 |
Not only incredibly heart- searing, but i guarantee that you WILL have tears in your eyes once you have finished this book. Most readers have read of the Warsaw ghetto, where the Jewish population of surrounding areas were herded to live, and starve to death. To deal with daily round-ups , to be shot for no apparent reason, to have relatives ripped away and to live in constant fear with sometimes an iota of hope. And entering this squalor comes Aron.
The children had it the worst i feel, witnessing horrors that we can only imagine, they found glimmers of life where they could. Along come a doctor who runs the ghetto orphanage and puts organization and care into their sad lives. I will not give away the ending, but i will say that you have been forewarned, have a kleenex handy. ( )
  linda.marsheells | Jul 31, 2018 |
Aron is a young boy, a Polish Jew, whose family is barely hanging on in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto. Aron spends as much time on the streets as he does with his family. He is part of a network of street children who smuggle goods into the ghetto's black market. He is gradually coerced into acting as an informant for the Jewish Police; by the time he realizes what is happening, it seems that he no longer has a choice.

Despite the grim subject matter, many Holocaust memoirs and novels have an undercurrent of hope since the author/protagonist survived to tell their story. This one progresses relentlessly toward tragedy. At the time I listened to this book, I wasn't aware that Janusz Korczak was a real person and not just a character created for this novel. His attitude toward children (at least, the attitude portrayed in the novel) reminded me of Mr. Rogers. I would like to know more about this man who devoted himself to the care and comfort of Jewish orphans at such a dark time in history. I am on the lookout for a good biography. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jul 28, 2018 |
I wasn't sure that I would like this book; admittedly, I've been a bit burned out on Holocaust novels. However, The Book of Aron quickly grabbed my attention, and I finished it in two days. Several factors make this story unique. First, instead of focusing on the horrors of life in the prison camps and the inevitable tragic ending, Shepherd sets his story mainly in the Warsaw ghetto and focuses on daily life and the struggle for survival. Second, his protagonist is a 12-year old boy. Aron's age and the fact that his life has been a struggle even before the Nazi invasion render him a more detached narrator than we see in most other Holocaust novels. He takes life as it comes: the sudden death of his younger brother, the lice that cake his head and body, the lack of food, the typhus epidemic, the sudden acts of violence, the disappearance of family and friends, the extra people that are moved into his already crowded home--all this just happen, and Aron moves on. He isn't an unfeeling boy; in fact, his friends tease him about his frequent tears. But they also have a phrase that they repeat about him: "Sh'maya only cares about himself." Sadly, this is the way a lot of people must have acted if they wanted to survive. Aron becomes good at scrounging and stealing, and he later joins up with a group of boys who smuggle items through a hole in the wall surrounding the ghetto. He even agrees to become an informer for an acquaintance who has joined the yellow police, a group of Jews working with the invaders.

But if there is one person Aron admires, it is Dr. Janusc Korczak, a real-life educator and children's advocate who became well know for his radio show, The Old Doc. Aron watches him from afar as he works to save as many children as possible, has a number of conversations with him in the street, and visits a performance by the children in his orphanage. Korczak becomes a major figure in the last half of the novel.

While not a happy read (what Holocaust novel is?), it kept my interest and made me aware of some of the harsher details of life for Poland's Jews outside of the prison camps. Despite the distance Aron maintains and some of the unpleasant things that he does, I was empathetic towards his struggle. ( )
  Cariola | Mar 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Shepard’s fidelity to the historical record is impressive, but what makes The Book of Aron a work of art is his obedience to the boy’s restricted perspective. ... by reclaiming an insignificant voice and deploying it to observe a great man [Janusz Korczak], Shepard turns hell into a testament of love and sacrifice. The Book of Aron is his best novel yet, a short and moving masterpiece.
 
Korczak is, of course, a renowned ­historical figure: author, pediatrician, ­activist for the rights of the child and director of a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw that the Nazis ordered him to relocate within the walls of the ghetto. It is the relationship between Aron and Korczak that sits at the heart of the novel and, indeed, gives heart to this bleak story of loss, deprivation and betrayal.
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Shepardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My mother and father named me Aron, but my father said they should have named me What Have You Done, and my uncle told everyone they should have called me What Were You Thinking.
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"Aron, [a child living in World War II Poland], is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution ... When his family is finally stripped away from him, Aron is rescued by Janusz Korczak, a doctor renowned throughout prewar Europe as an advocate of childrens' rights who, once the Nazis swept in, was put in charge of the Warsaw orphanage. Treblinka awaits them all, but does Aron manage to escape--as his mentor suspected he could--to spread word about the atrocities?"--Amazon.com.

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From the hugely acclaimed National Book Award finalist, a novel that will join the shortlist of classics about the Holocaust and the children caught up in it.

Aron, the narrator, is an engaging if peculiar young boy whose family is driven from the countryside into the Warsaw Ghetto. As his family is slowly stripped away from him, Aron and a handful of boys and girls risk their lives, smuggling and trading things through the "quarantine walls" to keep their people alive, hunted all the while by blackmailers and by Jewish, Polish, and German police (not to mention the Gestapo). Eventually Aron is "rescued" by Janusz Korczak, a Jewish-Polish doctor and advocate of children's rights famous throughout prewar Europe who, once the Nazis swept in, was put in charge of the ghetto orphanage. In the end, of course, he and his staff and all the children are put on a train to Treblinka, but has Aron managed to escape, to spread word about the atrocities, as Korczak hoped he would?...
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