Ten-year-old Aron runs with a children's smuggling gang in a WWII Warsaw Jewish ghetto. Child rights activist Janusz Korczak strives to protect his orphanage from the impending Nazi devastation. Their powerful tale, haunting and yet blisteringly real, will linger long in your memory. Recommended By Tracey T., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
“Heartbreaking but never sentimental, comic but never unserious, terrifying but always engrossing, The Book of Aron brings us face to face with the unimaginable, actual truth.” Daniel Handler
“Heart-breaking, shattering, charming and brilliant — there isn’t one word that isn’t the young boy’s. Jim Shepard has written some of the best books I’ve read and The Book of Aron is his best.” Roddy Doyle
“The story of what happened to children in the Holocaust is not for the faint-hearted. A fictional, first-person narrative from the point of view of a Jewish child in Warsaw — in fact, a child in Dr. Janusz Korczak’s well-known orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto — is very brave. And a heartbreaking historical novel that ends in Treblinka may not be what many readers are expecting from a novelist and short-story writer whose ironic touch is often comedic. But Jim Shepard has written a Holocaust novel that stands with the most powerful writing on that terrible subject.” John Irving
About the Author
The author of six previous novels and four collections of stories, JIM SHEPARD was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and now lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children, and teaches at Williams College. His work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, McSweeney's, Tin House, Zoetrope, Playboy, and Vice, among other periodicals.