20 September, 2016

The girl from the train by Irma Joubert

A six year-old Jewish girl and a young Polish man are brought together in World War Two when Gretl’s train to Auschwitz is mistakenly blown up by a bomb intended for a German troop train. She is the only survivor. Resistance member Jakob, devastated by his group’s mistake, takes Gretl to his family home.

Gretl remains there for three years, hiding her Jewish origins from Jakob’s Catholic family, until Jakob seizes an opportunity to send her to South Africa to be adopted by a Protestant family.
Again, Gretl has to hide her religion, this time pretending to be Protestant, and changing her name to Grietjie.

She settles into life in South Africa with her new family but never forgets Jakob and her past in Europe. As she grows into a young woman, circumstances align to bring back her past.

I was expecting a harrowing story of wartime but this story is quite gentle in a way. There are sad parts but they do not dwell on the brutality and injustice, they are there to tell us more about the characters and what has made them who they are. It’s an interesting tale and makes you think about the influences of religion and culture on individuals.

The changing nature of Gretl and Jakob’s relationship lies at the heart of this book but a lot of other topics are covered, especially family, love, loyalty and tolerance.

It is also available as an eBook and on audio CD.

Title: The girl from the train
Author: Irma Joubert

Recommended by Kathy N, Collections Development

Kathy N can’t sleep unless she has read a bit before turning the light off. As well as most fiction, she enjoys craft and lifestyle books to get project ideas for her rural home.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kia ora! Please feel free to leave your comments or suggestions below.