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Monday, November 2, 2009

The Zookeeper's Wife Discussion

All right yous guys. I spent my weekend laid up with a nasty cold. But I'm here and I'm gonna get this wagon train a movin.

I'm not done with the book yet. I can tell you my impressions of it so far.

It started out a bit slow for me. There have been passages that lose my interest. But overall, I've been drawn to it to find out what's happening. I tried to imagine myself in Antonina's place. When the war first broke out in Warsaw, I was so floored with the thought of worrying about your child, not really having anywhere to take them to be safe. We truly live a very lucky life here in North America I think.

So far then, I'm impressed and absolutely going to finish.

How did you like the book?


Gordo said...

I inhaled this one over the Thanksgiving weekend. I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories and I sat on the edge of my seat expecting the worst. Given the current state of the species, it does my heart good to be reminded that there have always been and always will be some true heroes out there.

I was also very interested to read some more about Białowieża Forest. There was a good description of the place in The World Without Us, but not all of the detail that the author gives here. I didn't know about Heck's experiments with with back-breeding Aurochs.

jaded said...

This book was not a work of literature in so much as it was a brief family history of a family living in war torn Warsaw, so I can't evaluate it in the same way I do fiction. It reads like a heavily personalized documentary. Real life doesn't always have a carefully orchestrated plot, therefor some of the events read sort of haphazardly, even if chronologically accurate.

I enjoyed (seems like an odd word choice when referring to the holocaust) the account inclusive of all the tedious details of everyday existence when faced with the precarious task of survival. History books rarely include mundane details, preferring to dwell upon general descriptions which though they don't trivialize the human condition tend to treat it more like a statistic than a tragedy.

The information concerning the maintenance of the zoo itself interested me. Only recently has it become fashionable for ordinary people to embrace conservation, and it is interesting to see the post technological efforts. Not that technology lagged prior to the holocaust, but as research grows, so do preservation efforts.

Antonia and Jan understood conservation form it's most basic (the nuclear family), to its most complex (species of animals and entire cultures). This story served as a reminder that small efforts can indeed matter because caring does become contagious.