Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
“War is going to change things, isn’t it?”
“Yes. It will.”
“Then I hope it changes me.”
Before reading The Butterfly and the Violin, I knew it had the potential to be a true masterpiece, and I believe it does become one. By the end of the Vienna Philharmonic concert in which Adele Von Bron was meant to honor the leader of the Third Reich with her musical gift, the imagery hooked me. There were minutes when Adele seemed a bit weak to me, in a timid or wispy kind of way, but then, she wouldn’t have ended up in Auschwitz if she was a weakling. I was moved to tears during the climactic moment in which Adele’s strength is fully realized, a scene overflowing with love and purpose, exquisite pain, exquisite beauty. Moments like that don’t come in all literature, those flashes of something infinite, unfathomable, and eternal, and as Adele soars, one can’t help but to soar with her.
“The artist can’t be killed, Adele. The men and women whose hearts have cried in this place–they couldn’t stay away.”
There were some minor hitches in the novel’s style, such as the places in the present day account of Sera James that didn’t quite have the snap they might have, and Adele’s back-to-back breakdowns against her friend Omara that could have had more power if only one breakdown had been used instead of two. Yet, the ultimate profundity and triumph of the story more than make up for the minor details, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an appreciation for the human heart, the human story, and enduring hope.
The God-worship of every life–this was the art of Auschwitz.
I’ve added this book to my all-time Favorites.
Also see my review of the sequel, A Sparrow in Terezin.