Sparse in detail, strong in emotion

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Like so many others, I wondered about the character Cilka from The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and longed to hear her story. My wish was granted in Cilka’s Journey. Cilka as a character is vibrant and alive yet at times, barely above drowning in her life. All of which works beautifully in this compelling, readable, gut-wrenching novel.

In the beginning, the sparsity of detail left me floundering to find my footing. I couldn’t tell how large the prison was, or how many prisoners there were, really what anything looked like outside of hut 29. Once the flashbacks to Auschwitz started though, I got it. How shut down and unseeing Cilka had become out of necessity, from the vibrant teen who first entered the concentration camps a lifetime ago. My heart ached through most of this novel, but it was a fine ache by the end.