Pearl is in charge of: the sad, the good, the past.
Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.
It’s 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.
As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.
That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks–a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin–travel through Poland’s devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.
A superbly crafted story, told in a voice as exquisite as it is boundlessly original, Mischling defies every expectation, traversing one of the darkest moments in human history to show us the way toward ethereal beauty, moral reckoning, and soaring hope.
Mischling by Affinity Konar is a must-read book. I rated it less than 4-stars because of how far the plot was stretched out with the action. There was not enough action to make this a faster read and thus, it was a very slow burn. However, this historical fiction novel depicts one of the most horrific moments in history. It was a story about one particular set of female twins who were taken in by the evil Nazis doctor by their mom and then later separated. The twins experienced all the horrors and nightmares that the Doctor did. In fact, one twin mentioned how the doctor ripped open a woman’s stomach and dumped the infant into a bucket saying he was doing a friend a favor. This novel is not for the faint of heart. I did find it realistic and entertaining. The story was heartbreaking even unto the last few pages. Then, there was a plot twist I was not expecting but was glad to have read. Overall, if you do not mind the slow pacing and enjoy a trip back to WWII, then this is the novel to read!