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The World That We Knew: A Novel

The World That We Knew: A Novel

Scritto da Alice Hoffman

Narrato da Judith Light


The World That We Knew: A Novel

Scritto da Alice Hoffman

Narrato da Judith Light

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (159 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
10 ore
Pubblicato:
Sep 24, 2019
ISBN:
9781508279235
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites comes Alice Hoffman’s darkly magical story of in a heartbreaking time of war when men became monsters, children navigated a world without parents, and women were willing to sacrifice everything for those they loved.

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed forever, Hanni Kohn knows she has to send her 12-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Turning to an old woman who is familiar with Jewish magic, she finds her way to the daughter of a rabbi who creates a Golem, a mystical Jewish creature sworn to protect Hanni’s precious daughter Lea.

Lea’s journey with the Golem to France is fraught with danger and raw emotion. They travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses, to a mountaintop village where 3,000 Jews were saved, to a farm where the bees never forgive.

What does it mean to lose your mother? What makes a family? How is it possible to survive cruelty and continue to love? In a life that is as unreal as a fairytale, Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew takes us on a journey of loss and resistance, good and evil, the fantastical and the mortal, to a place where all roads lead past the angel of death and love is never-ending.

Pubblicato:
Sep 24, 2019
ISBN:
9781508279235
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. She wrote her first novel, Property Of, while studying creative writing at Stanford University, and since then has published more than thirty books for readers of all ages, including the recent New York Times bestsellers The Museum of Extraordinary Things and The Dovekeepers. Two of her novels, Practical Magic and Aquamarine, have been made into films, and Here on Earth was an Oprah’s Book Club choice. All told, Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty languages and one hundred foreign editions. She lives outside of Boston.

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159 valutazioni / 22 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Love all of her books - special about Hollocaust
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed the historical reconstruction and I especially liked the introduction and the use of the golem.
  • (4/5)
    I started this book with no idea what it involved, aside from taking place during WWII. As it began and the mythological aspects came into play, I thought I might not finish it. But I unexpectedly enjoyed the story very much. It's definitely worth the read. Great story telling, memorable characters, great writing.
  • (5/5)
    As life becomes difficult for Jews in Germany, Lea's mother needs a way to keep her 12-year-old daughter safe. She asks a rabbi's daughter to create a creature to protect her. The rabbi's daughter, her younger sister, Lea, and the golem set off to France looking for a safe haven. They and those they meet, all have their own fates.
  • (5/5)
    Even in the crowded genre of World War II historical fiction, The World that We Knew burns with an unmatched intensity. Out of desperation, a mother enlists the help of a young girl in creating a golem to protect her daughter. From this act of love, Alice Hoffman's luminous prose weaves together a story of quiet resistance and heroic sacrifice set during the years of the German occupation of France. Afterwards, the questions linger: what is it that defines our humanity and how do we move forward after unspeakable suffering?
  • (5/5)
    It took me a long time to read this book. The language is rich and many times I had to stop and reread a passage. The story is tough and more times than not I had to stop to catch my breath. These are still good reasons to read this book.
  • (3/5)
    WW2 novels are usually a favorite. The golem, with magical realism, was fascinating and beautifully written. The love between mother and daughter was special and emotionally. However, the book wasn't always working. The teens and their interactions felt off. A bit too YA romance. I plot is well paced and if you like creative WW2 and don't mind romance, you will enjoy The World That We Knew. There's a lot to enjoy in the novel. For much of the book, I was listening to the audio. It is very well done.
  • (2/5)
    Berlin 1941. The Nazis are in control. Jews are starving, and families disappear each day. Even a minor offense can get a Jew killed.Hanni Kohn exists in the midst of all this. Her husband has been killed by the Nazis, and as much as she wants to flee, she cannot because she is unable to leave her bedridden mother alone. She can, however, try to save her 12-year-old daughter Lea. To do so, she entreats help from a rabbi but instead gets it from his daughter Ettie, who creates a “golem” in the shape of a woman from clay and water — to watch over Lea and to keep her safe until the end of the war. This golem, named Ava, will intertwine with Lea as she escapes Berlin for France, along with Ettie and Ettie’s sister. Thus begins the story of Lea’s and Ettie’s journeys to and in France as they go on the run to get away from the horrors of their homeland.I have enjoyed other of Hoffman’s novels, but this one left me flat. I struggled to get into it and struggled through most of it as I read along. Although Hoffman’s writing was as lyrically gorgeous as ever, the plot seemed to move along much too slowly, and I thought that the characters were not well developed. It was difficult for me to finish this, and I almost gave up a few times. But because of the author, I plodded on. Maybe it was that Hoffman’s usually wonderful mystical realism just didn’t work for me in a World War II setting. May it was that the idea of a “golem” coming to life to protect Lea seemed a but far-fetched. For whatever reason, this novel just did not work for me.Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Heartbreaking. And Beautiful.
    Stunning.
    I will be reading more novels by Hoffman.
  • (3/5)
    Parts of this are so beautiful and parts are so weird. In fact, I almost didn’t finish it because in the beginning I just didn’t think that world war historical fiction could really mix with magical realism. In the beginning, it really didn’t. And while I kept reading and am glad I didn’t quit, this book is certainly not for everyone.

    When I started the book, I was listening to the audio, and that proved problematic in this particular situation. There were too many characters to keep up with and it moved between them so seamlessly that I just could keep up in audio. So I switch the reading instead and that worked much better for me.

    Hoffman’s writing itself is magical. And her characters are undeniably beautiful.
  • (4/5)
    Well-written book, with some fantasy elements---one of the main characters is a female golem---about young people trying to survive in France during the Holocaust. Real places, events and people are interwoven with a story that connects two French brothers with two girls from Berlin perhaps too neatly. The ending, while satisfying, also feels a bit too tidy. Nonetheless, I was moved by the story and cared about the characters and learned more about France during World War II. The roundup of Parisian Jews, the small villages, convents, and schools that hid Jewish children are described. I also liked the relationship between the golem and the heron. I hadn't known that Huguenots were some of the French who saved Jews during the war, but it makes sense that their persecution would make them wary of authority and willing to help others in a similar situation.
  • (5/5)
    “It was protection, it was love, it was a secret, it was the beginning, it was the end.”The World That We Knew is a lyrical, evocative and poignant tale set during World War II from Alice Hoffman.“I beg you for one thing. Love her as if she were your own.”As the Nazi’s purge Germany of its Jewish population, a mother desperately seeks a way to save her twelve year old daughter, Lea. Turning to her faith for a miracle she finds help from a Rabbi’s daughter, Ettiene, who, in exchange for train tickets to make her own escape with her sister, creates a Golem, a creature made from magic and clay, compelled to deliver Lea safe from the war.“Hers was a wish that could never be granted. It was too late, it was over; there was no home to go back to.”While Lea grieves for all she has left behind, Ava, learning to walk within the world, ensures they safely reach Paris. There they find refuge with the Levi family, distant cousins, and Lea a friendship with Julien Levi that eases her heartache, but once again the darkness closes in, and Ava and Lea must flee.“It was a dark dream,... it was nothing like the world we knew.”A story of family, love, grief, faith, sacrifice, survival, duty, good and evil, The World That We Knew is a spellbinding fairytale, grounded in the horrific reality of the Holocaust. It contrasts the very worst of humanity with its best during one of history’s darkest periods, and celebrates the astonishing ability of love to thrive even in the bleakest of circumstances.“People said love was the antidote to hate, that it could mend what was most broken, and give hope in the most hopeless of times.”Lea and Ava’s path is fraught with danger, yet illuminated with love, as it also is for those with whom they connect on their journey. Ettie seeks out the resistance after her sister is gunned down during their escape from Berlin; Marianne returns home to her father’s farm in the Ardèche Mountains, and discovers all that she left to find; Julien Levi narrowly escapes being shipped off to Auschwitz during ‘Operation Spring Breeze’, doing all he can to keep his one promise to Lea - to stay alive.“If you survive, I survive inside of you.”Powerful and poetic, The World That We Knew is a stunning novel and a compelling read.“Once upon a time something happened that you never could have imagined, a spell was broken, a girl was saved, a rose grew out of a tooth buried deep in the ground, love was everywhere, and people who had been taken away continued to walk with you, in dreams and in the waking world.”
  • (4/5)
    Too much fantasy in the tragic issues that happened during WWII in France. The French were not helpful to Jews during the war. Fantasy was not needed.
  • (4/5)
    The World That We Knewby Alice Hoffmandue 9-24-2019Simon and Schuster 5.0 / 5.0#netgalley. #TheWorldThatWeKnowAlice Hoffman has shared a very essential and harrowing story of the Nazi invasion in Berlin, in the 1940s, and of The Resistance that helped Jewish people to hide and escape. Not since reading 'Night' by Wiesel, have I been so taken and consumed with emotion by a story about the humiliation and torture of Jewish people, forced upon them by the heartless Germans. The detail is richly developed, the emotion so deep, the story flows at a perfect pace for so much emotion.I was drawn into the lives of Julien, Hanni, Lea, Ettie and Victor...I wanted to know their story. I wanted them to be successful, I wanted them to stay alive. The abuse and deprivation and lack of common decency.The glory and happiness when a loved one or friend received word by post, then, when it became to dangerous, by heron, that they were safe and alive.The Resistance helped forged vistas, drivers license, ration cards, to help Jews survive and move to safe havens in Spain and Switzerland, many hiding them at great risk to their own safety.This book made me: cry... Laugh..Get pissed off.. Get happy..get angry...get excited. This book made me feel. I was completely taken by the emotional story of humanity, decency, self-respect and escape. And also the lack of humanity, decency and self-respect. This should be on everyones must read list...its fantastic...its important...especially in this time of out history when personal ambivalence and deceit are more important than people.Thanks to netgalley, the publisher and author for sending this e-book ARC for review.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this book so much. It covered the worst time in the history of our world but with the touch of love and folklore
  • (5/5)
    The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman, author; Judith Light, narratorAlthough one might think that because the book concerns itself largely with magical realism, that it is a book that is light and airy, one would be very wrong. In this beautifully crafted and creative allegory, using the stuff of myths and legends, Hoffman has crafted a very creative piece of historic fiction about a time that will live in infamy, the time of the Holocaust.It is 1941 and World War II is raging in Europe. Jews have lost their rights as citizens and are being rounded up to be tortured in inhumane conditions and/or murdered systematically. Although they believed the war would end and the people would come to their senses, that had not happened and things had gotten far worse than anyone would have imagined. Those who had no means to save themselves, struggled with ideas of how to save their children. Parents who witnessed the abuse of their children thought of nothing else when they realized how hopeless things had gotten. Some were sent to convents, some were sent out of the country to strangers, and some were simply abandoned when their parents were rounded up and sent away to die. After Hanni Kohn’s daughter was attacked by a Nazi soldier, resulting in his murder, she knew that she had to do something to protect her in the future. Hanni could not escape because her mother was bedridden, and she would not leave her behind. She sought the help of a friend. Ruth believed in magic. She told Hanni of a creature that her own father had told her about, a creature that had saved Jews since the beginning of time. The creature was a golem. A golem is a mythical creature that could speak the language of fish and birds, and had great strength and powers that humans did not possess. It could see into the future, foretell the time of death, see and speak to angels. It also had limitations. If it was more than a certain distance from the ground, it lost its power. It was made from clay using spiritual, secret incantations to give it life. It should only live for a short period of time or it would begin to think for itself making it dangerous and less inclined to obey its master. It was considered an abomination since it had no soul and was not human. It could not feel.Ruth gave Hanni the address of a Rabbi who could create such a creature for her. This creature would protect her daughter and take her to relatives in France who lived in a part of France which was supposed to remain a free zone, a place called Vichy. Hanni believed that Lea would be safer there. Ruth told her to implore the Rabbi’s wife to help her, since the Rabbi probably would refuse to see her. Hanni decided to take a chanhce and made the dangerous trip to the Rabbi’s home. There, his daughter let her in, to the chagrin of her mother. When she told the Rabbi’s wife what she wished, she berated Hanni for asking for such a thing and refused to help her. As she was leaving, the Rabbi’s daughter pulled her aside and whispered that she would help her. She said she had perfect recall and had seen her father’s failed attempt to raise a golem and knew the mistake he had made. She would not make the same mistake. She wanted to escape from Germany into France also. She needed the money to purchase papers and tickets for herself and her sister Marta. An agreement was struck between them.All three females were present when the procedure began and the pure clay to make the creature was collected. As they worked together, Hanni revealed some of her requirements. She wanted the golem to protect her daughter at all costs, like a mother, and she wanted it to be female with the power of speech. Since she was already breaking G-d’s laws, Ettie said she would try to fulfill her wishes. Hanni hoped that this creature would serve as Lea’s companion and guardian and love her like she did. When the creature breathed, she was beautiful and named Ava. She put on the dress that Hanni had made for her, and except for her very large feet, requiring the rabbi’s boots, she looked fine.Lea and Ava, Ettie and her sister Marta, all attempted to escape to France at the same time, on the same train. Just before they reached the border, guards came aboard their train. Ava told Etti to stay there and she would protect her too, but she refused. The golem was created to protect Lea, only. She leapt from the train with her sister. From this point, the lives of Ettie and Lea took different directions, but they were destined to reunite in the future. Ava bedazzled the German guard so he left them alone, and they were safe. They made it to the home of the Levi’s, Lea’s relatives. They stayed there with them and their two sons, Victor and Julien for some time, until Hitler reneged on the agreement of the free zone and began rounding up Jews. The Levi’s thought they would be safe, but they were just Jews, like any other. The leadership supported Hitler and they were rounded up. How they and other victims fared is fraught with tension and bravery. How they fared is fraught with the helplessness of the day. How they fared is fraught with the prejudice and hate supported by those who followed the Nazis or who feared them and didn’t resist in order to save themselves, although they knew what was going on behind the scenes and were aware of the deportations and cold-blooded murders.As the story is told, there are many revelations about the war and its heinous history. There are tales of the resistance and those who took part in it. The hate and the brutality leap off the page in an emotional and spiritual nature, making it real and unforgettable for the reader. It forces the reader to experience the hopelessness, helplessness, fear and confusion of the victims. It opens their eyes to the courage and valor, perseverance and self sacrifice of those who tried to save the innocent victims and who fought back when they knew they would be tortured and murdered if caught.The reader is eased into and out of the horror because of the use of magical realism which makes it seem like a fable, even though the pertinent parts of the story are based on facts. The angel of death, however, was always hovering nearby. It was not easily defeated, but sometimes could be tricked. There are some miraculous moments in the tale which will cheer the reader and give the reader hope for a brighter future, but not before the future goes dark. As each hero and heroine is portrayed, the reader will suffer with them and feel their conflicts and final moments and decisions. They will feel their losses and their victories.These are some questions that the book raises. Is a Jew always a Jew no matter what? Does evil exist? Do the differences between people matter? When people are separated from their loved ones, will they recover? Is it like the immigration crisis of today? Lea’s grandmother tells her to be a wolf, wolves survive, would Jews? Is there hope for a peaceful future today? Are we more separate and different or more united and the same? Will love make it possible to always find a way to hope?
  • (5/5)
    I really didn’t know what to expect from this book so I was wonderfully delighted. If you enjoyed PRACTICAL MAGIC and THE RULES OF MAGIC you will also enjoy THE WORLD THAT WE KNEW. Hoffman puts her twist on the Jewish mystical story of the golem.My heart was captured by all the main characters – Ettie, Lea, Marianne, Ava, Vincent and Julien. I rejoiced in their raw moments of happiness, loved their moments of tenderness, and had my heart broken several times. Good vs evil – an ever-ending struggle for all humanity. Five very brave young people who are determined to conquer evil. Hoffman’s characters must make decisions not only for themselves but for all those they love, sometimes having to sacrifice themselves. A story of love and loss, what it means to be a mother. A quote that stuck with me: “People are so breakable, and so easy to lose.”Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the advance copy. Opinions are all mine.
  • (4/5)
    A special thank you to Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Hoffman's latest work transports us to Berlin in 1941. It is during this time, one of the darkest in humanity, that three women must rely on their courage in order to survive.In order to keep her twelve-year-old daughter away from the Nazi regime, Hanni Kohn sends her away to stay with some distant cousins. She visits an illustrious rabbi to seek his help. While pleading her case to the Rabbi's wife, their daughter, Ettie, overhears and secretly offers help. Ettie creates a golem—a mystical Jewish creature—to protect Lea at all costs. When Ava, the golem, is brought to life, she is forever connected to Ettie her maker, and Lea, the girl she is created to keep safe.With evil lurking everywhere, the girls face unsurmountable loss, and sacrifice so much for love.We meet some extraordinary characters that take us on an astonishing journey of love and loss, while demonstrating incredible courage and resilience. Paramount is a mother's love for her daughter and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. All of this is sprinkled with Hoffman's signature magical realism.This is a fresh take on the Holocaust and there are elements that Hoffman shines a light on, like the border crossings of many children, that many are not aware of. She educates and elevates her readers. Hoffman's writing transcends. It is elegant and haunting, and quite simply, stunning.In this book, all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is forever.
  • (5/5)
    Magical realism meets World War II in this captivating new novel by Alice Hoffman. In Berlin, Hanni, the mother of a young Jewish girl, seeks drastic measures in order to protect her young daughter Lea. With the help of Ettie, the daughter of a Rabbi, a golem called Ava is created to protect Lea and to care for her as if she were her own.Fleeing Berlin together, Lea and Ava make it into France where they live in relative safety for most of the next few years. Each one discovers love while in France. Lea falls in love with Julien and Ava falls in love with a heron.The appearance of the heron throughout the story was very symbolic. The heron stands for peace and tranquility and a path to self-determination, which is what happens for each of the characters in the story. In the story, the heron helps Lea and Julien keep in touch with each other when they are separated. Their mantra to each other was to “stay alive.”Hoffman focuses more on the Resistance and the regular people who helped the Jews stay in hiding. There are no chapters involving life in a concentration camp, although the characters are aware of what happens in the camps.Throughout the story both Ava and Lea question if they can fulfill her mother’s wishes. At times they doubt each other. Learning to trust, learning what love truly is, the characters grow into who they are to become and all this leads to a very inspiring ending. I think this is one of Hoffman’s best novels and highly recommend it to readers.Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read an advance copy and offer my honest review.
  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Alice Hoffman has done it again, a book both hauntingly heartbreakingly beautiful. A book that I will admit to devouring as quickly as I could and that it left me emotionally exhausted and many cries to come I think. It was a book I truly didn't think I would love despite being by my favourite author. To be taken on this journey and to be able to visualize the sights, smells and feelings described is more proof of the author's own magic. I think it will be the most heartbreaking book I will read this year without a doubt but one I will read again because the heartbreak was the kind that leaves you feeling like you have read a loved one's letters after they are gone. A good hurt. Another amazing book by a so talented author

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Wonderful book and hard to put down. Hanni is a widow in Berlin taking care of her disabled mother and her pre-teen daughter. She decides to send her daughter Lea away and with the help of a rabbi's daughter creates a golem to protect her daughter. They escape to Paris and then leave before the Jews are rounded up there and hide out in rural France. Ava, the golem, grows stronger and becomes more human. Lea grows up, too. The story twists and turns and is utterly fascinating.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Question I asked myself. All Holocaust books are heartbreaking, Would this book become just another sad story without the magical realism? I think that element made this book memorable, one that stands out, unforgettable. Ava represents a mother's love, someone who is not human, but more human than many others during this inhuman time. I loved when the doctor thought, if one can love, one has a soul. So much evil, so many deaths and yet so many good people that went above and beyond. So many elements combined, a heron I adored, showing there are many other species able to love. So I decided the magical realism allowed Hoffman to interject a great deal of love and wonder into a story of a time that represented, hatred, horror, death and loss. It provided an emotional element that went above and beyond. I loved the ending, it was just right.I still want a knight for Christmas and now I've added three angels to my list.ARC from Edelweiss

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile