There will never be enough stories of the Holocaust; we should never forget, we should always be shaken awake by the art that comes from the 20th century’s most tragic events.
We can go back into our collective histories and find the inspiration for novels, films and everything else. The Holocaust and a World War Two is one of the most common touch points for novelists, particularly Australian novelists. While Morris is from New Zealander, her time in Australia is felt throughout the novel, far enough removed from Europe yet intrinsically connected. I just wish we turned to the our tragic events- those of the Indigenous treatment, in many ways influenced by the same thoughts as the Nazis. Or even more contemporary, the continued demonisation and persecution of refugees. There’s stories to be told right there.
The novel flows and whips far too quickly into the positive for our Lale. How did the other prisoners react to his close relationship with the Nazis? How would survivors feel about the empathy we have for some of the guards at the death camps. We aren’t meant to like Nazis, understand them, relate to the, are we? Or maybe that is the power of Morris’ positioning, those guards come have been us.
Any research on the novel will lead you to a Morris’ original plan for a screen play. There’s moments when the establishing scenes for a climax read exactly like that. It means the novel is breezily read and is gone far too soon.
Learning to stop wanting things is probably one of the most difficult lessons of getting old. But if you don’t learn to do that, it seems to him, your desires will be like a bellyful of stones dragging you down to your grave.
it wasn’t until the third day that the temperature started to drop.
The humidity before the rain left the house. A icy damp joined with the cooling earth. At first it was refreshing, a cooler morning. But it didn’t warm throughout the day, the house held the cool so well. Bundling everything we could we created huddles of blankets, pillows, our bodies. We forgot about the lack of entertainment, the rain stayed and we struggled to stay warm.