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With its flaws, I was moved by the main story of this book. If you are interested in Poland after WWII, I recommend it highly, even though I have only given it 4 stars. Father Anselm could be deleted and the book would be stronger.
At the heart of this novel is a powerful story of the effects of war and totalitarianism. It is made even more powerful by the exploration of what motivates individual behavior when the world as they know it is threatened. What is the line between good and evil. I was only vaguely aware of the history of Poland between WWII and Solidarity. Through Roza's eyes, I was able to experience the pain, the fear, and the hopeless which overwhelmed the country.
That said, the book is too long and revelations too convenient. It felt like the author did not know when to end the story. He eventually tied up every loose end so smoothly that many of the resolutions felt forced. The theological and philosophical dialogues (both internal and external) by Father Anselm were too long and distracted from the story.
I have previously enjoyed Gordon Griffin's narration. In this book, however, the voices of the male characters were often not distinct enough in a scene and I had difficulty knowing who was speaking. Part of this may be due to editing. There was often no break when a scene shifted from one time period to another.
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