By John Boyne

Released : 16/01/2021

Reviewed:  13/01/2021

Reviewed by : Micheal Atom

‘…….He had thought that there would be a shop in the centre, and maybe a small café like
the ones he had known in Berlin…..’

My heart asked me – “Who will expect to find a café inside a Nazi concentration camp?”
Well Bruno did.

This historical novel is a fiction by John Boyne, written in 2006. It is about a nine year old boy named Bruno. One day he was told that they- his sister Gretel, his mother and father had to leave Berlin for Poland where his father was posted as a commandant in a concentration camp. They arrived at a deserted place, new house called ‘Out With’. Bruno could see a high fence extended sideways from his room which he decided to explore. One day he discovered a friend of his same age, Shmuel on the other side. They became friends. Innocent Bruno never knew Shmuel as prisoner and Shmuel didn’t want to speak about the terrible truth of the camp. The only curiosity was why they wore the same pyjamas. Wearing a striped pyjama which Shmuel brought, one day, Bruno sneaked to the other side of the fence to help in search of his friend’s father. The little man never came back from that day. Whether the discovery is fortunate or unfortunate for him is left upon the readers.

The tragedy ended with the loss of an innocent boy who was swallowed by the Holocaust devised by the so called Fuhrer who Bruno even misspelled as “Fury”.

Narrated in simple language, the story tells how ‘Holocaust’ can be seen through the innocent lens. It seems to say the world is full of ignorance where there is no place for innocence. Themes of boundaries between races, the unacceptable bars are shown. Author narrates the power blinded autocratic and chauvinistic nature of the Nazis, their dominance in a way that is not heard very often. Friendship forced to be illegal, themes of racism and anti-Semitism are all fabricated in this novel in an innocent world. Despite all of these, Bruno’s grandmother’s never accepted their new plan which, I believe, to be telling us that not all agree towards the obvious fuss there back then. A simple story but a deep meaning is buried inside it.

A praise:

This is what fiction is supposed to do; introduce you to the minds of those you won’t
ordinarily meet.” –Guardian.

I recommend this book to every audience to have a chance to look at the horrific incident that weighed down our history from the innocent eyes. Though narrated through a child, every reader will surely feel a good read. I am sure the cliff hangers will surely catch you!! I hope it will be worth a read.
Happy reading!

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