As you may remember, I am a huge fan of historical fiction. My favorite period is World War II. Prior to becoming a Nurse, I was a history and political science major, especially curious about and moved by the Holocaust.
As a matter of fact, several years ago, The Husband and I visited the Terezin and Auschwitz concentration camps. Without a doubt, this trip was the most powerful experience of my life.
So, when a dear friend sent the The Invisible Bridge to me, hinted about the subject matter and said, “You have to read this. I can’t wait for you to read this. I miss Andras.” I was compelled to begin reading. Immediately. The only problem was finishing the book. I didn’t want it to end.
The novel is equal parts grand love story and epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by World War II. Andras is a Hungarian Jew studying in Paris as Hitler’s influence begins to spread across a continent already filled with anti-Semitism. He falls for fellow émigré Klara, and their world is soon rocked by war. Other characters weave in and out of the story line, but it’s the love between Andras and Klara that fuels the novel. I don’t want to tell you any more and spoil the story.
Orringer uses the experiences of these two Hungarian-Jewish families to tell the story of the Hungarian Holocaust, a perspective with which I was unfamiliar. The horrific labor camps of the second world war, in which millions died, have always received less notice than the Nazi death camps. Death in these labor services, as I learned, was gradual, usually agonizing, and always wretched.
Orringer’s mastery of historical detail is incredible. The story is based loosely on the experiences of her own grandparents…as I read at the end of the book…becuase I literally didn’t want it to end.
While there is a certain level (at times intolerable amounts!) of agony, I must say that in reading this book (as well as lots of other fiction and non-fiction literature), there are an incredible number of jaw-dropping, inspirational personal stories that come out of the Holocaust. These stories of selflessness, love, commitment, generosity and fortitude are extraordinary.
These personal stories of triumph and love are what I was left with at the end of The Invisible Bridge. I hope that you enjoy this SL book as much as I did!