The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

eBook - 2019
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"Oh, what a book this is! Hoffman's exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching; and the humanity she brings to us—it is a glorious experience. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances—and then it delivers with a tremendous punch. It opens up the world, the universe, in a way that it absolutely unique. By the end you may be weeping." —Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge "Alice Hoffman's new novel will break your heart, and then stitch it back together piece by piece. It's about love and loss, about history and the world today, about what happens when man goes against the laws of nature for good and for evil. It's my new favorite Hoffman book—and if you know how much I adore her writing, that's truly saying something." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light "An exceptionally voiced tale of deepest love and loss...one of [Hoffman's] finest. WWII fiction has glutted the market, but Hoffman's unique brand of magical realism and the beautiful, tender yet devastating way she explores her subject make this a standout." — Booklist (starred review) In 1941, during humanity's darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman. In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it's his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked. Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be. What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Publisher: [S.I.] : Simon & Schuster, 2019.
ISBN: 9781501137594
Branch Call Number: Overdrive
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

Opinion

From Library Staff

This beautifully written tale about young people coming of age during Nazi occupation features adventure, love and magical realism. Not just another WWII novel! -Laura B.


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NadiaHathor
Dec 11, 2019

Alice's ability to draw the reader in from the first paragraph and hold them enthralled to the last sentence is in itself magikal and this novel continues that tradition. The inclusion of the golem within this horrific historical backdrop takes this novel into the realm of mysticism rarely seen in this genre. This is a story about Love, not only Love of others, but Love of Life itself, even when Life seems doomed. Adroit character development, nuanced plot combined with a gratifying ending delivers another timeless classic from a Master Storyteller.

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njon38
Dec 03, 2019

Alice Hoffman writes magical realism into a story set in Nazi Germany. The mother’s struggle to save her daughter involves a rabbi’s daughter, Ettie, creating a golem to protect Ava. They travel to Paris where a distant relative’s sons Victor and Julien become entangled with the girls. It is a terrific story however heartbreaking.

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Dtoogood
Nov 21, 2019

Best book of the year !! Loved the depth of all the characters , I felt like I was walking beside them as the story unfolded

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 17, 2019

The character of the golem is an original and fascinating touch. Does not pass the "Valerie" test for me. (I didn't become wrapped up in the fate of the main character). Didn't care for the writing. But that's me - the book received starred reviews from: Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus and is characterized by Novelist as "Literary Fiction."

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booknrrd
Nov 15, 2019

It's funny because I always say that I'm done with WWII novels, then I read another one and think, "That wasn't so bad." I really enjoyed this book. It is complicated with lots of moving pieces, but it is also compelling and emotional and thought-provoking. Personally, I love magical realism, so those aspects enriched the novel for me, and I loved how Hoffman showed people of different faiths working together and threw in some history too with the Huguenot strongholds.

It is sort of a literary The Nightingale with some Jewish folklore thrown in.

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rgally
Nov 14, 2019

Very rare that I give a 5 star rating.

A wonderful heart rending tale of horror and magic.

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leigholson
Nov 12, 2019

An exceptional book and the first I have read by this well-established author. I was invested in these characters from almost the first page. Exquisitely written and if I could have read this book in one sitting, I would have. The capacity for love flows powerfully throughout this book, despite its horrific setting in time. Mysticism and religion only add to the depth of the story. One of the best books I have read in years and it will stay with me.

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laphampeak
Oct 19, 2019

A tender story of survival during the Holocaust. The beauty lies in the loyalty and love between young sons and daughters sent to seek safely by doomed parents and a golem. Lives are intertwined and Hoffman brings a sense of harmony with nature and connection to a greater whole.

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WoodneathTaylor
Oct 14, 2019

In true Alice Hoffman nature, she seamlessly weaves the magical and mystical together into the real world. WWII/Holocaust fiction can definitely be "overdone" - but this is a stunning masterpiece that demands your attention.

debwalker Sep 18, 2019

Powerful narrative of WW2 women and tough choices.

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