THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ
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BY HEATHER MORRIS
“I tattooed her number on her left hand and she tattooed her number in my heart.” Lale Sakolov in an interview with Heather Morris
Based on the true story The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a heart-breaking and powerful novel that quickly became a worldwide bestseller in 2018 and one that has earned its right as a historical fiction worthy of a Missed Opportunity read in your book club. Not only is it a timely novel for November it is also prominently displayed in bookshops alongside its recently released sequel Cilka’s Journey.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz tells the moving story of a Slovakian Jew, Lale Sakolov, who is put to work as a tattooist and tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners – one of whom he vows to somehow survive and marry. Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, stories of horrific atrocities are shared along with incredible acts of bravery and compassion.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Australian writer, Heather Morris, was written following a series of interviews with Lale Sakolov over a three-year period. With the passing of time since the Holocaust, we expect fact and fiction to be blurred – making the accounts it has to tell possible. The author cleverly manages to steer the reader into Lale’s life and his experiences of survival through short episodic chapters. Lale’s voice is detached and clinical, giving us the chance to capture the events as well catch our own breath.
The novel provided lots of moments of reflection surrounding the Tattooist’s tortured emotions of guilt versus survival, despair versus hope and hate versus love. The sensitively told romance between Lale and Gita is light relief in this horrific period in history and loved all the more, because we know it’s true!
The Den was haunted by the narrative and high scores were reached for ‘talkability’ because we wanted to peel back the layers of the characters and their personal fights for survival.
Originally written as a screen-play the novel has since been a best seller around the world selling over 3 million copies. And the Den is taking stock to read Cilka’s Journey next.
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