|This photo doesn't show just how large the book really is|
On page 423, one of the characters first mentions the Struma tragedy and thus truly catapulting the book to my attention. The scene woke me up. Julie Orringer, in the midst of her Hungarian Holocaust novel slips in a piece of family history and not just by name. Recognizing that her readers will likely not know the name, she further explains the situation to the characters, tying it into their escape rhetoric. It's an interesting and effective method, in sync with much of the what the book aims to prove.
|First Struma reference and explanation|
Taking a familiar setting (the years leading up to the Holocaust and through to the end of the European war) and making it new is not an easy task. Orringer may not have written the next classic novel, but it's a pretty good take nonetheless (if way, way too inflated). The sparks of originality that slip into the narrative give the book a few fresh moments even as the story progresses in a familiar and predictable manner. That Orringer introduced me to a new story that I already knew... it's chilling and yet somewhat wonderful. I want authors to tell me different stories. I want authors to educate me. That readers of The Invisible Bridge now know about the Struma gives me some peace. Julie Orringer, I tip my hat.