Saturday, March 11, 2017
Mischling by Affinity Konar
Mischling means mixed-blood in German. It was a legal term used in Nazi Germany to denote persons deemed to have both Aryan and Jewish ancestry.
This holocaust story of 12 year old twin sisters who were selected by Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz physician who performed grotesque experiments on selected prisoners (especially twins), as a part of his "Zoo," is haunting and anguished. The story is told in alternating chapters by Stasha and Pearl--the first half concentrating on their captivity, and the second half taking place after the advance of the Soviet army and the liberation of Auschwitz.
Some critics have criticized the book because of the beautiful language used by Konar in telling the tale, and the danger that is inherent in creating art out of such tortured history. But in my opinion, rather than strip the tale of its horror, such language by contrast makes the evil all too real. Nightmarish, dark, and painful as it was--it was still a story beautifully told.