Krulik relates the Holocaust story of lovers Gerd and Inge in a compelling, keenly accurate narrative voice.
In this powerful book, we follow Gerd from Germany, where he meets Inge, to the concentration camps where he is separated from her, then back to Berlin where they reunite and then, finally, to America. While the necessity of survival plays a role in the plot, an underlying current of suspense pulsates between Gerd and Inge’s relationship. Though separated, Inge manages to send Gerd letters and she is constantly on his mind. Readers will cheer with Gerd at the story’s conclusion when the pair finally marries after enduring so much pain and violence. Krulik’s pitch-perfect capturing of Gerd’s voice will propel readers to keep the pages turning—the novel opens “I am so tired of that swish-click sound I hear night after night, night after charcoal night, as I double lock our heavy front door”; besides the poetically beautiful assonance present, Krulik also skillfully reproduces the rhythms of speech. Furthermore, readers may be surprised to learn that the book is not a novel but a work of nonfiction based on tape-recorded conversations Krulik had with Gerd and Inge. Krulik masterfully translates these conversations into rich, vivid text. Her elegant descriptions will engage readers; she writes, “[W]e step lightly on the broken bricks, chipped rocks, piles of soot and dust that makes up this Berlin. The roar of machines pushing pieces of buildings into pieces makes us shudder. Still, we walk.” Not only does Krulik gracefully evoke the imagery of a city in rubble, but she captures the perseverance of these survivors who keep walking against all odds.
A graceful meditation on the power of perseverance and triumph of human nature through the darkest times, this story will captivate and inspire readers.