Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Afterlife of Stars

The Afterlife of Stars by Joseph Kertes, 243 pages.
The relationship between Robert and his older brother, Attila is the heart of this book.  Attila, four years older, is angrier, funnier, and smarter than Robert. Robert's narrating this book, looking back to the time when he was 9.7 and Attila was 13.8, as their Jewish family fled Hungary and the Russian army in 1956. The boy's parents still have fresh wounds from the war and from the Holocaust which had killed many of their relatives. It's and interesting book and Attila is a great character, with his oversize sense of adventure and his half-mocking words of endearment towards Robert, "my tiny brother," mon petit chou," "my pumpkin loaf." There are a lot of strong moments in the book, but the ending is a bit of a disappointment, and the narrator's voice, sometimes a child of nine, sometimes an older man looking back, is a little uneven.

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