The Violin of Auschwitz--Maria Angels Anglada

One can tell from the title--not likely to be a cheery heart-warming story.  And yet one would be wrong--at least insofar as heartwarming goes.  Cheery no, but victorious--yes.

One night at a concert a musician hears the sound of a wonderful, warm violin.  Intrigued, he speaks with the owner, who at first does not say much, but who leaves him the "documents in the case" so that we learn how the violin came into being. 

A luthier imprisoned in Auschwitz and suffering the same horrors as the other prisoners is set to work making a violin.  What he does not know as he starts is that a wager is placed upon the completion of this violin during a certain span.  If completed in time, one party of the bet is to receive a case of wine.  If not, the other party is to receive the Luthier as a participant in some of his medical experimentation.

The harsh facts of its origin do not betray the instrument itself.  The luthier works his art and magic and produces a violin amidst the horrors of the camp, from which he is not spared even while at this work.

The prose is spare, quiet, just enough.  The tone quiet to a whisper.  The effect--a bombshell--a celebration of human spirit in the most horrible and horrifying of all environments--places whose ugliness and wretchedness and evil defies human comprehension.

Ms. Angladas produces a quiet and fine work--a work of power, sensitivity, and a quiet brilliance which makes for both good reading and good reflection.

Highest recommendation *****

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