Category Archives: Fiction

To the Edge of Sorrow

To the Edge of Sorrow, by Aharon Appelfeld, is a profound book, in many aspects.

Appelfeld leaves nothing to the imagination, as far as word-imagery, illuminating not only the physical horrors, losses, and sorrows of war, but also the emotional perceptions, repressions, and ability to forge through each day, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.

Jewish partisans struggle from hunger, extreme cold temperatures, living in trenches, life on the run, living in a Ukrainian forest, during World War II. They are adamant about fighting the Nazis.

Judaism is a central theme, within the pages, and how it’s education is part of the partisans’ daily ritual. Whether believers, or not, it is expected that the entire group participates, because their leader is determined that morality will survive the horrors thrust upon them.

Through this daily aspect, some of the group are able to cope better, with their difficult situation.  Others are impacted more emotionally, causing them to reflect on their life, their loved ones, the comforts of home.  The effects, and how each person is affected, is important in the context of the group, as a whole.

The story, with its characters, and depictions, still lingers within me, and will, for quite some time. It is one of those books, that for me, is difficult to let go of.

I have been an avid reader of Aharon Appelfeld’s books. Sadly, this was his last one, as he died in 2018.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Novels, Uncategorized, World History, World War II

Review: The Overstory

Overstory

I was thoroughly captivated by the beautiful, impactful, stunning, and breathtaking writing by Richard Powers, in The Overstory.  The prose was poetic, within its strong statements, and with the vivid word imagery.

forest

Trees and their beauty, their communal ways of being and protecting not only the earth, man, and their own kind, are memorialized within the pages, and given high honor, within the deep tribute.  Their connection to the earth goes beyond any visual, or perception, or preconceived idea that we have of them.  Powers brings a realized aspect in defining their power, power lasting over 370 million years.

dormant

Trees, although cut down by man, himself, still hold powers of positivity that reign supreme within the landscapes of earth and time.  Their ability to shape so many unseen lives, literally, within the scope of their very being is an amazing feat, not only of nature, but of perseverance within the realms of their very essence.  They are a treasure, and should be held on a pedestal.

trunks

There are basically two stories within the novel, each one affecting the other, dramatically, with activism towards the living world of trees.  The characters weave their own connections, networks, within their staunch beliefs.  Those beliefs eventually branch out to other individuals, and extend to various communities.  The trees, themselves, become strong forces, within the focus of man’s destruction, and also of man’s determination to save them, resisting corporate financial strength and power.

wooded

Trees, living forms, in their own right, have been diminished by man, used, abused, and handled without care.  Their story needed to be told, in a humanistic manner, yet not sugar-coated.  Richard Powers masterfully depicted, with amazing prose and imagery, the magnificence, devotion to man, and power of trees, within the scheme of human need, connectivity, and also man’s love and devotion towards them.

The Overstory won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

thecalm2

Copyright Lorri M.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Lorri's Blog, Novels, Photography, Uncategorized, Writings

Review: The World That We Knew

the world that we knew

Alice Hoffman’s books have never ceased to amaze me.  The World That We Knew is another one of her books that I felt amazed and touched by.

The story line had a mystical aspect, yet it was not difficult to suspend my disbelief within specific moments that illuminated nature, love, and the theory of clay being magically brought to a life form.  Magical realism, mystical realism, however you define it, is a powerful force within the pages, especially with the forming of a golem.

Judaism defines a golem as a substance, amorphous, one that is not complete, made from clay or mud.  Golems are also said to not have emotions, and to be, more or less, a slave to the individual who created it.  Ava’s super strength and awareness defined her powers over her human creators in more ways than one.

I enjoyed watching the character of Ava mature, in unpredictable ways.  I felt compassion towards her.  For me, she was the one character who I admired and liked the most, even though she was not a human being.

Her knowledge of events to come, and her strength in upholding her ideals through those difficult situations, gained my respect for her.  Her actions went above and beyond any forces that actual individuals took to enhance or minimize.  She was a willing shero, in every respect.

The Holocaust events depicted were not sugar-coated, but were a central force within the pages, particularly the French partisan angles, during World War II.  Hoffman was masterful with her word-imagery, within the pages.

Once again, Alice Hoffman did not disappoint me.  Her masterful prose created a wonderful story line, filled with magic/mysticism, a feature I have loved, throughout her books that I have read.  I highly recommend The World That We Knew.
Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Uncategorized, World War II

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Aliz E. Harrow, is a magical story, and I almost want to define it as an adult fairy tale.

It is so much more than a fantasy, magical, or a folk tale, or an old wive’s tale, or a depiction of impossible realms.  The story has depth, meaning and substance, pertaining to time, itself, doors we encounter on our journeys in life, identity, assimilation, freedom, and familial relationships.

Most of us are searching, seeking answers to complex questions, and we walk through many doors in our life, such as the doors which were entered within the pages of this illuminating novel.

And, within the confines of the pages is prose so masterfully and beautifully written, so vivid, and breathtaking.  The portals, doors, entrances and exits all came together magnificently, and believably.

-Copyright Lorri M.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Lorri's Blog, Novels

Review: Memory Wall

If you are looking for a collection of stories that touch the heart and soul, I recommend Memory Wall-Stories, by Anthony Doerr.

Each story is unique, and not connected to the others. Yet, there is a soulful connection within them that spans the thousands of miles in their locations.

The stories speak of memory and how our memories hold life within them. My favorite story (actually a novella) is entitled “Memory Wall”. It is about an old woman, losing her memory, and a young boy who captures her memories. The story encompasses the positive aspects of keeping memories alive. Through memories, those we hold dear remain with us, and their lives are not forgotten. The young boy exhibits redemption, through sensitive and poignant visuals.

From a seed keeper of a village about to be demolished, to a teenaged girl who moves from Kansas to Lithuania, the stories are so diverse in culture and locals, yet there is constant sameness within them. That connection is memory, love, loss and remembrance of what is important to us, what once was and how it reflects in our present.

Anthony Doerr captures emotions and thoughts with precision and with poetic word-imagery. Memory Wall is a stunningly beautiful, evoking emotions within this reader, and filling my senses with life-affirming loveliness.

I highly recommend Memory Wall-Stories to everyone.

This is my second reading of this beautifully written book. I read it again, for a book club.

2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Lorri's Blog

World War II and Holocaust-related Books Recently Read

World War II books have always been a passion to me, and especially books that cover the Holocaust. I am an avid reader, and feel that my continual reading of Holocaust-related books will keep me focused on remembrance, courage, love and loss, identity, displacement, assimilation, socialization, trauma, and the appalling and horrific events that consumed individuals, both in those who were murdered, and the after-affects and after-effects of survivors and their families.

Here is a list of some of the books I have recently read, that deal with World War II and the Holocaust:

The Wartime Sisters by Linda Cohen Loigman

Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys

All That Is by James Salter

The Taster by V.S. Alexander

A Brief Stop On the Road From Auschwitz by Goran Rosenberg

In His Father’s Footsteps by Danielle Steel

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail DeWitt

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction, World War II