The Book of Aron

The Book of Aron

A Novel

eBook - 2015
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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? Jim Shephard has masterfully made this child's-eye view of the Warsaw Ghetto mesmerizing, sometimes comic despite all odds, and truly heartbreaking. It is nothing less than a masterpiece.
Publisher: [New York] : Knopf, 2015.
ISBN: 9781101874325
1101874325
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Opinion

From Library Staff

National Book Award nominee Jim Shepard's brief but powerful novel of life in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII tells the story of a Jewish boy named Aron and the real-life figure of Janusz Korczak, a children's rights activist and intellectual who ran the ghetto orphanage. Aron's family is impoveris... Read More »


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g
gogo12127
Aug 30, 2016

This book reads like a memoir, because it is written in the first person, even though it is a work of fiction.

e
empbee
May 05, 2016

A moving story of children before being transported to the death camps. Resilience, inventiveness, sacrifice, heroism are all present in a short novel.

g
Gabbiefilby
Mar 26, 2016

This book is likely to be one of my all-time favourites. It is simply written in the style of Elie Wiesel's "The Night" and just as powerful. The fictional characters are interspersed with real characters who have been documented from that period. The message that children are still only children regardless of the world they are thrown into and that we have to learn to forgive ourselves are powerful.

j
JohnLRobison
Jan 21, 2016

A tale focused on children of the Warsaw ghetto and on Aron in particular. They scramble and steal to survive. They can be selfish and cruel, but most retain their fledgling humanity, for example, when a young girl who has washed up in the orphanage where Aron has found asylum, he holds her hand until she stops crying. Aron is dismissed by everyone as worthless, but is, nevertheless included in a gang of peers who smuggle life prolonging items into the ghetto. The dance of death pursues everyone impersonally. Some few evade it. The book is set before the ghetto uprising, but preparations for it are mentioned. The story centers on a group of children increasingly emotionally detached from their parents who come together because they are from the same neighbor- hood. Commitment and loyalties within the group fluctuate. Aron comes to the orphanage late in the novel and becomes an acolyte of the director, an elderly former pediatrician who is engaged in a doomed effort to save as many children as he can. The dynamics of survival, the acquiescence to eroding freedoms, the refusal to acknowledge the inevitability of death by murder are the novel's themes. It is a worthy addition to Holocaust literature.

l
lisatofts
Nov 22, 2015

This was a great story about the Holocaust written from a child's point of view. While others have noted the prose was to be written like a child, I found it off or missing something here and there. Some sentences were confusing. I believe if you're going to write from a child's POV, you need to do it consistently or show the reader of upcoming change of POV. I had to reread certain parts to understand the meaning or who was talking. This is a super story though. I really enjoyed it.

m
misswindsor
Jul 24, 2015

You might think you have read enough WWII/Holocaust fiction but this is a must read. It is incredibly moving and powerful.

v
vv8
Jul 09, 2015

This book portrays life in a Warsaw ghetto from the eyes of a child. At times, I judged this novel but what it is not (it is not overly descriptive or introspective), but then I realized that's what makes it unique and realistic. Shepard stuck to the view of the child, which often came across as meandering and simplistic. But in the end, that tone is what captures so stunningly the bleak horror of this time and place.

multcolib_alisonk Apr 30, 2015

A devastating story told from the perspective of Aron, an innocuous kid whose life changes when the walls go up around the Warsaw ghetto. His particular talent is to witness, and he sees how the adults around him become dehumanized by their conditions and how the children try to survive by their wits in spite of the betrayal and failures of the adult world.

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lisatofts
Nov 22, 2015

lisatofts thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 18 and 99

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lisatofts
Nov 23, 2015

"The child has the right to respect," he said. "The child has the right to develop. The child has the right to be. The child has the right to grieve. The child has the right to learn. And the child has the right to make mistakes."

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