The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth

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Wrote by Kate Forsyth I read The Wild Girl, that I still remember despite the time passed from the reading time and that I absolutely suggest as a beautiful and hard read. Considering these premises I had great expectations for The Beast’s Garden, retelling of The Springing Lark set in a nazism setting.

Ava is from German origins, one of her sisters work as a secretary in the SS offices, but overall her family is against Hitler’s doing. Family friends are the Feidlers, of hebrew origin; Rupert in particular is a friend of Ava, sharing her love for music.

During a night of raids Ava is able to help her friends thanks to the intervention of Leo von Löwenstein, a German officer met by chance and fascinated by Ava’s beauty and character.

This way it begins the relation between Ava and Leo, and soon it becomes a marriage. The times are hard and Ada finds hard to trust completely her husband, him belonging to the army. In the meanwhile Ada starts to help Jutta, Rupert’s sister, in her undercover operation to help the last Jew in Berlin.

The novel is overall nice and the narrative style very pleasing, but I think that the plot is quite weak: in general it’s hard for non-European authors to deal with the theme of nazism and the implications related to WWII, in this case some events are plot driven and they have a few meaning in the overall story (e.g. when Ava meets Leo’s mother and grandfather). On the other hand the main character often behave quite silly, in particular taking into account the historical setting: Ada is bold, she does not reflects on her words and this despite being part of undercover operations.

The choice of the author to retell the story of The Springing Lark is quite interesting because the fairy tale is less known than others, but the output is not convincing, and the main problems are related to the love story between Ava and Leo that begins as love at first sight.

It’s possible that my tepid comment is function of the high expectation I had, but the author got me used to better stories.


* The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in english

Short fiction – ep. 3

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Third post (the first one is here, the second here) where I speak about some short but beautiful books.

  • Letter from an unknown woman by Stefan Zweig
  • Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

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Maus by Art Spiegelman

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Maus is a hard graphic novel for what it tells, and while you read it – and you know everything about that history because is a school topic and there is the International Holocaust Remember Day – it feels unreal and you ask yourself how it is possible that men – men and women like you, what difference should it be? – were able to create something so organized and horrible and cruel [and “The third wave” shows how easy is to recreate it all].
Maus is not only the memory of Nazism and concentration camps, it is also the love for a father willing to survive with and for his family, who is idealized and worthy but with all his weaknesses.
Maus is also the love between a man and his wife and the increase of awareness about a piece of history and about the writer himself: it’s a story speaking also about its author who shows his weaknesses and doubts to his readers.

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* Maus by Art Spiegelman ★★★★★

*I read this book in Italian

Short fiction – ep. 2

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Second post (the first one is here) containing my opinion about stories shorter than novels read during the last few months.

  • Reunion by Fred Uhlman
  • Traps by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
  • Le bal by Irene Nemirowsky
  • The Laying On Of Hands by Alan Bennett

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[ARC] Half past danger by Stephen Mooney

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1943 WWII, the sargent Flynn discovers in a remote Pacific island a Nazi experiment that may determine the outcome of war.

Back home and having loss all his team Flynn will be involved in a top secret mission with a unordinary troop.

It’s an action and adventure story, a mix between unordinary men and jurassic park with some coup de theatre; the conclusion hints a possible follow up to this graphic novel.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Half past danger by Stephen Mooney ★★★☆

*I read this book in English