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Publisher's Summary

The acclaimed National Book Award finalist - "one of the United States' finest writers," according to Joshua Ferris, "full of wit, humanity, and fearless curiosity" - now gives us a novel that will join the short list of classics about children caught up in the Holocaust.
Aron, the narrator, is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution. He and a handful of boys and girls risk their lives by scuttling around the ghetto to smuggle and trade contraband through the quarantine walls in hopes of keeping their fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters alive, hunted all the while by blackmailers and by Jewish, Polish, and German police, not to mention the Gestapo.
When his family is finally stripped away from him, Aron is rescued by Janusz Korczak, a doctor renowned throughout prewar Europe as an advocate of children's rights who, once the Nazis swept in, was put in charge of the Warsaw orphanage. Treblinka awaits them all, but does Aron manage to escape - as his mentor suspected he could - to spread word about the atrocities?
Jim Shepard has masterfully made this child's-eye view of the darkest history mesmerizing, sometimes comic despite all odds, truly heartbreaking, and even inspiring. Anyone who hears Aron's voice will remember it forever.
©2015 Jim Shepard (P)2015 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"The story of what happened to children in the Holocaust is not for the faint-hearted. A fictional, first-person narrative from the point of view of a Jewish child in Warsaw - in fact, a child in Dr. Janusz Korczak's well-known orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto - is very brave. And a heartbreaking historical novel that ends in Treblinka may not be what many readers are expecting from a novelist and short-story writer whose ironic touch is often comedic. But Jim Shepard has written a Holocaust novel that stands with the most powerful writing on that terrible subject." (John Irving)
"Heartbreaking but never sentimental, comic but never unserious, terrifying but always engrossing, The Book of Aron brings us face to face with the unimaginable, actual truth." (Daniel Handler)
"Heart-breaking, shattering, charming, and brilliant - there isn't one word that isn't the young boy's. Jim Shepard has written some of the best books I've read and The Book of Aron is his best." (Roddy Doyle)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Cynthia Bazinet on 04-27-17

Absolutely heartbreaking.

The clarity of the prose, the starkly candid voice of Aron, and the unbearably sad historical circumstances make this an unforgettable experience. Beautifully read; beautifully written.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Emma S. on 05-10-18

Reading doesn’t do the writing justice

Jim Shepard is understated, nuanced, and smart. In order to get his dark sense of humor, it’s important to read with a certain pace and tone. I stopped listening to the audiobook about a third of the way through and finished it in print. The dialogue moves much faster in print. The reader goes too slowly and misses the punchiness. The book is so damn good.

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