Al Confino, A Child by Eric Lamet

There is always something interesting to find  in an autobiography or memoir. This book was no exception. It tells the true story of a boy who flees Vienna with his parents at the outset of World War II as the Nazi’s invade. The child’s parents are separated and the father disappears. The mother and child are relocated in Italy and are interned in a small village which to them seems largely uncivilised. There they wait out the war.

One of the strengths of this book is clearly the fact that it tells the story of life for internees in Italy during the war. This is not the usual Holocaust narrative and so it is refreshing (that’s not really the right word to use in these circumstances …) to read of the lives of those who survived the war in different circumstances.

While this aspect of the book intrigued me, I found the bulk of the text very difficult to read. At times I was bored and I can’t quite work out why. Were my expectations so far off or was the book poorly narrated? I don’t think I felt “let down”, simply not engaged in the way that I would have liked to have been.

I can recommend this book only in as much as it reveals such fabulous detail about Italy at this time and that it is a memoir and that in itself makes it worth reading. Personally, I have read other Holocaust memoirs that have been far better crafted and which have gripped me more fervently.


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