Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Weeping and The Laughter

I enjoyed this book very much. Noel Barber's writing style is very readable, yet the story is rich and interesting. The story spans from 1919 until 1947, and centers around Nicki Korolev, the Tsar's godson. In 1919, when Nicki was 12, his family fled Russia for Paris, where he would become the head of local International Red Cross. Apart from Nicki's romance with the beautiful Tasha and the searching upon his lost twin-brother, what I find most interesting is how Russians lived and survived in Paris before and during WW2. 

When Nicki and the family was about to get out from Russia, it was not without obstacle. They were attacked by the mob. The scene was horrible to read, reminds me of the French revolution. The peasants didn't care if they attacked pregnant women and children. They attacked every one different. Also terrifying is how Nazis treated their prisoners and how the French mob treated Nazi collaborators. "Once upon a time war was heroic - about living and dying and behaving like gentlemen. Now - it really affects the innocents, with torture, degradation. It wasn't like that in the history books." I think the worst thing is the feeling of helplessness. If only we could so something, we would have felt better.

This is one of the best historical fictions I've ever read.  

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