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RUN, BOY, RUN by Uri Orlev Kirkus Star


by Uri Orlev & translated by

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-16465-0
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Based on a true story, this tale of one Jewish orphan’s survival during the Holocaust boggles the imagination. Srulik, separated from his parents in the Warsaw ghetto at the age of 9, begins an odyssey that takes him into the Polish countryside, where he must literally remake himself to survive. A brief, surreal reunion with his father in a potato field results in his father’s death and his transformation into Jurek, a Polish Catholic orphan. In this identity, he wanders from village to village, finding temporary refuge with farmers, partisans, a lonely German soldier, and, incredibly, a Gestapo officer—losing an arm along the way, but always surviving on a combination of quick wits and determination. Orlev tells his tale with few flourishes, the straightforward narration oddly unemotional; it is through Srulik/Jurek’s actions that the reader divines his inner state, not narrative revelation. As declarative sentence leads to declarative sentence, the story marches to its conclusion, Srulik/Jurek’s ultimate inability to sort out his own fact from the fiction he has been living speaking quiet volumes. Mesmerizing and memorable. (Fiction. 10 )