Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Paris Architect

"A beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man's unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war." —Malcolm Gladwell
A thrilling debut novel of World War II Paris, from an author who's been called "an up and coming Ken Follett." (Booklist)

I had pretty much decided that I would never read another Nazi/torture/concentration camp-centic book again.  WWII holocaust stories are tough reads, and that's okay; they are gruesome, as well they should be; but they are also essential reading, so we never forget. As a young adult (if 15 is a young adult?) I couldn't get enough of these stories.  I gobbled up Leon Uris novels (QBVII , Mila 18 ) like twinkies, and have read dozens of holocaust and WWII stories. I felt like I was cognizant, I had done my part in the effort of being aware, and remembering what had happened.  At some point, I just couldn't read any more about human indignity and horror.  And naturally felt guilty about that.  After all if millions of people fell victim to these crimes, the least I could do was read about them!
After reflecting, I realized that continued reading about this topic wasn't going to change anything, better to put efforts into awareness of current atrocities like Darfur etc.
So why was I drawn to, "The Paris Architect"?  Perhaps it was because of Lucien's reluctant entry into the world of helping Jewish neighbors.  Or it could have been my love of reading anything which teaches me a new vocation.  (Yes I totally believe I am now qualified to design large factories!)  What ever the reason I am happy that I read it.
It is an interesting peek into Parisian life during the occupation, as well as a glimpse into the complexities of the effectiveness of the French Resistance.  It comes at the subject of the holocaust from a different angle than I have ever read.  The characters are wonderfully crafted and multidimensional!  There are a few tough pages, with VERY graphic torture scenes.  If you can get past that it is well worth your time!  I

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