Almost everyone has heard of Oskar Schindler, made famous by Steven Spielberg’s film, “Schindler’s List.” This, however sheds new light on his life, for it is written by his wife, Emilie Schindler, and it is her story.
Born in 1907, Emilie Schindler and her husband Oskar helped rescue thousands of Jews from the hands of the Nazis during WWII, but according to Emilie, it was her idea and she who set it in motion.She begins the prologue, thus: “Some of you will generously forgive me if this story is not precisely what you expected, but I trust that, in the end, you will thank me for not lying to you…the facts depict my husband as a hero for the century. This is not true. He was not a hero and neither was I. We only did what we had to do.”
Written at the end of 1994, the book at first seemed a rant against her dead husband. According to this memoir, the marriage was not a happy one. Oskar Schindler was a womanizer, and yet the love of Emilie’s life. Their marriage was full of passion and betrayal, and it was a hard life for her once Oskar had settled her on farmland in Argentina while he was luxuriously wining and dining contacts in Germany and Europe. Emilie states that it was she who kept them going and did so by the hardest work and most sacrifice of the couple.
No, the story was not “precisely what [I] expected,” but it was a fascinating read.
The following two books were ones I read purely for escape while waiting for my delayed-by-ice semester to start:
First, Morningstar:Growing Up with Books a 2017 publication by Ann Hood, was a slim volume which needs to be read with one’s TBR list close by. The book might be described as a memoir organized by what the author was reading at various stages of her life. I had read her earlier novel, The Book That Matters Most, and thoroughly enjoyed it, sharing it with friends at my book club, so when I saw it displayed at the library, I checked it out. Hood grew up in a household that “didn’t foster a love of literature but discovered literature anyway. Sometimes lonely as a child she experienced “the companionship of books.” She read eclectically, pouring equally over classics, bestsellers, and books that were “not so nice,” her mother’s description. Because it was so short, it was a quick read and a unique one. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves books and is interested in other people who love them too.
Tess Gerritsen’s 2015 novel is one I found at Half Price Books. As a fan of the TNT series, Rissoli and Isles, selecting Playing with Fire, was a no-brainer. The cover alone was enough to capture my interest. Gerritsen employs great skills of characterization, and her plots and sub-plots combine psychological thriller appeal as well as mystery, action, and plenty of twists and turns. Beginning in the US and continuing in Venice, Julia, the protagonist, is soon caught up in espionage and violence, something she never dreamed a concert violinist would experience. The intertwining stories of the modern-day professional violinist and the Jewish holocaust-era composer provide good reading and good mystery.