book review: Displaced Persons by Ghita Schwarz

Displaced Persons: A Novel
The basics: Displaced Persons is the story of Polish Jewsish refugees who have just been liberated from a concentration camp. They are alive, and they are free, but they are essentially homeless. The novel follows them from 1945 to 2000.

My thoughts: I seem to be reading a inordinate number of Jewish World War II novels lately. Displaced Persons carves out its unique niche well, but I imagine it would have impacted me more greatly if I weren't on such a thematic kick. For me, the book began a bit slowly because it was such familiar ground for me. When the narrative shifted geographically, I found it more interesting, partly because the move surprised me.

Displaced Persons is a unique novel in many ways. While the characters go through many changes, it is a relatively calm novel. While many things happen, there is not necessarily a strong plot. Ultimately, it's a quietly reflective and reverent novel about the lingering effects of The Holocaust.

The verdict: Displaced Persons bridges the historical fiction of World War II with the experience of contemporary immigrants. It's a serious and powerful look at war, family and time.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5) 
Length: 340 pages
Publication date: August 10, 2010 (it's in paperback now)
Source: the publisher, via TLC Book Tours

Want more? Check out Ghita's website and see all the tour stops for Displaced Persons.
Already convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Displaced Persons from Amazon in paperback or for the Kindle.

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  1. I also feel like there are a lot of books out there on this subject, but for me, this one was a little different. I appreciated the look that Schwarz gives us at the characters lives both right after the war, and then much, much further into the future. It was sort of sad though. I liked your thoughtful take on it.

  2. I admit, I passed on this because it seemed a bit of the same, but I do like quiet novels -- will have to add this to my TBR as yours is one of many positive reviews I've seen.

  3. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I read a memoir recently that dealt with the way surviving the Holocaust affects your own life and that of your children, and this book reminds me a bit of that.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  4. I received this as a review copy last year but still have not gotten around to reading it yet (le sigh). I remember at the time that I was reading an inordinate amount of WWII literature at the time I received it and put it aside for want of something different. Based on your review, I think it's time to put it towards the top of the review pile again. Thanks for a great review!

  5. "Ultimately, it's a quietly reflective and reverent novel about the lingering effects of The Holocaust."

    Well said! I really liked this book because it was beautifully written and I'd always wondered how the survivors picked up and moved on with their lives. I've linked to your review on War Through the Generations.


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