A Thread of Grace Review Õ 100

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Read & download ß PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ß Mary Doria Russell Fascinating characters Through them she tells the little known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty three thousand Jews during the war’s final phase The result of five years of meticulous research A Thread of Grace is an ambitious engrossing novel of ideas history and marvelous characters that will please Russell’s many fans and earn her even From the Hardcover editi. Audiobook performed by Cassandra Campbell Russell’s third novel leaves space and the future and instead looks back on WW2 and the Italian citizens who saved the lives of thousands of Jews; not only their neighbors but refugees coming from other countries It opens in September 1943 with fourteen year old Claudette Blum and her father They’ve already fled Belgium and are in Paris when they need to move once again This time they will cross the Alps on foot led by an Italian soldier Eventually they are taken in by a farm family and come to know the villagers in the area As the war progresses over the next few years we meet a large cast of characters that includes a German doctor who regrets his past an Italian rabbi and his family a priest a British paratrooper and a charismatic Italian resistance leader What a story Based on true incidents Russell’s tale draws the reader into the lives of these many people She gives us examples of true courage from the fighters actively engaged in battle to the grandmothers who carried messages or the Catholic nuns who sheltered Jewish children in large orphanages I fell in love with these characters Russell doesn’t sugarcoat the sacrifices and dangers they faced nor does she make them saints They suabble succumb to temptations and waver in their determination They are also courageous and fiercely resistant to the evils of the Nazis Out manned and out gunned by the Germans this “army” of citizens nevertheless shows discipline and ingenuity when fighting Their huge advantage is their intimate knowledge of the terrain and their fierce loyalty to one another This is a war story so I knew there would be death and destruction Even though I expected this some of these scenes brought me to tears Russell tempers the sadness and horror with moments of great tenderness and even humor I was lucky that I chose to listen to this audiobook while on a long road trip I finished the 17 hours of listening in two day’s driving Cassandra Campbell does a superb job performing the audiobook She is a gifted voice artist and really brought the story and these characters to life

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A Thread of Grace Review Õ 100 Á Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God It is September 8 1943 and fourteen year old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand She and her father are among the thousands of Jewis Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God It is September 8 1943 and fourteen year old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy where they hope to be safe at last now that the. This was a challenging read in terms of keeping track of all the charactersMy biggest interest was with the fictional characters and the pure storytelling I did my share of googling historical factsand let other parts fly over my head The last half of the book was were my deepest emotions were felt I was distracted on and off with our 2020 pandemic daily news’At times the competition was fierce Eventually I surrendered to ‘teeter tottering’ between our current world crisis and WWIIIt’s so strange to think I know now about World War II connections between the Italians and the Jews than the ongoing effects of the coronavirus I loved how Mary Doria Russell began this book teasing us with a desire to know Austria 1907 “This was what everyone would remember about his mother her home was immaculate Even in a place where cleanliness was pursued with religious zeal her household was renowned for its faultless order In Klara’s mind there was no gradation between purity and filth” “She had sinned as a girlmade pregnant by her married uncle Adultery stained her soul black and God punished her as she deserved Her sin child died” “So did her aunt Klara became her uncles newest wife dutifully raising her stepchildren keeping them very clean and very uiet so her uncle husband would not become angry and bring out his leather whip Her husband was no merciful than her God” “Her Second son died and then her small daughter Soon after she buried little Ida Klara became pregnant again Her fourth child was a sickly boy whose weakness her uncle husband despised Klara was ashamed that her children had died She hovered over the new baby anxiously told him constantly that she loved and needed him hoping that her neighbors would notice how well he was cared for Hoping that her uncle husband would come to approve of her son Hoping that God would hear her pleas and let this child live” “Her prayers it seemed were answered but the neighbors were bemused by Klara’s mothering” “In adulthood Klara’s son would have nightmares about suffocation He would suck on a finger in times of stress for stuff himself with chocolates he was obsessed with his body’s odors and became a vegetarian convinced that his diet reduced his propensity to sweat excessively and improved the aroma of his intestinal gas He discussed nutritional theories at length but had a poor appetite He could not watch others eat without trying to spoil their enjoyment He’d call broth ‘corpse tea’ and once pointed out that a roast suckling pig looked ‘just like a cooked baby’” “The very blood in his veins was dangerous There were birth defects and feeblemindedness in his incestuous family His uncle father was a bastard and Klara’s son worried all his life that unsavory gossip about his ancestry would become public He was frightened of sexual intercourse and never had children afraid his tainted blood would be revealed in them He was terrified of cancer which took his mothers life and horrified that he had suckled at diseased breasts” “How could anyone live with so much fear” “He could not change his china blue eyes but he could change the world they saw” “He would free Europe of pollution and defilement— on my health and confidence and purity and order would remain” “The doctor who could not cure Klara Hitler’s cancer was Jewish” Set in northern Italy between 1943 and the end of the war in 1945 soon after Mussolini was overthrownThen Germany invaded I’ve read other books about how the Italians were true heroes in helping hide Jewish refugee familiesTo this day I hold a special spot in my heart for Italy and the Italian people who helped the Jews in ways no other European country did When you step into this novel you know you’ll walk down terrifying paths—Russell gave us epic textured characters violence history depravity mayhemshe also gave us a story to savor a little thread of grace

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A Thread of GraceItalians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis the Allies resistance fighters Jews in hiding and ordinary Italian civilians trying to surviveMary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background tracing the lives of a handful of. Some of the best scenes in literature1 The Idiot mock execution2 Macbeth Act 5; Scene 5 Macbeth's world is crashing aroundhim when he hears of his wife's death He remarks laconically Sheshould have died hereafter and then delivers what might be the most perfect lines in literature To morrow and to morrow and to morrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death Out out brief candle Life's but a walking shadow a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no It is a tale Told by an idiot full of sound and fury Signifying nothingNowhere in literature is despair and futility communicated better3 Invisible Man Liberty Paints Factory or battle royal4 Flannery O'Connor too many to list5 Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie telling Joe Starks Whenyou pull down yo' britches you look lak de change uhlife The few examples above come from Tier One literature While this sounds hierarchical I guess I do view books in general categories For example though Mary Doria Russell is an excellent writer she doesn't make my Tier One list And I'm no elitist but I'd be willing to bet most of us have some sort of invisible line that separates truly great literature from the rest Then there is schlocky literature and those books like Glenn Beck's recent foray into literature and I'd rather check out Hell for a few days or rip my face off than read The Overton Window that are beneath contemptHowever in Tier Two literature very good but not great Russell's scene between Werner Schramm an SS deserter and Father Osvaldo Tomitz an Italian priest is absolutely unforgettable Schramm has been dogging Osvaldo for some time hoping to have him hear his confession If you consider this excerpt a spoiler don't read it Osvaldo wants nothing to do with Schramm but Schramm persists and starts by asking Osvaldo a number of uestions concerning faith and then begins his confessionA priest's office is to instruct the faithful Schramm shouts Osvaldo is disgusted but resigns himself to hearing the confession Bless me Father for I have sinned he says when he can speak again I have murdered 91867 people Osvaldo laughs You're joking this laugh says You can't be serious Ninety one thousand he repeats Eight hundred And sixty seven Yes The number is absurd but Schramm does not laugh Schramm tries to makes excuses to clarify the situation but Osvaldo cannot comprehend; it is beyond belief Osvaldo looks at Schramm at the goat at the diamond studded sea in the distance Mind racing he tries to imagine what he can possibly say to thisthis demon His mouth opens No words emerge He lifts his hands drops them and begins to walk over Wait Schramm calls You must What is my penance Osvaldo turns and stares Mein Gott Schramm what did you expect Rosaries Bending suddenly leaning hard on hands that clutch his knees Osvaldo chokes back vomit Trembling he lifts his eyes Shoot yourselfI've eliminated both parts of this scene and its ending It has to be read in its entiretyThe book's title is perfect for grace does thread its way through this book Though the plight of the Italian resistance Jewish refugees and many others in this book prompt situations that are wrenching the book is uplifting as wellA poignant and memorable read