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All The Broken Places
by John Boyne
What a perfect and absolutely right sequel to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas!
Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same well-to-do mansion block in London for decades. She lives a quiet, comfortable life, despite her deeply disturbing, dark past. She doesn’t talk about her escape from Nazi Germany at age 12. She doesn’t talk about the grim post-war years in France with her mother. Most of all, she doesn’t talk about her father, who was the commandant of one of the Reich’s most notorious extermination camps.
Then, a new family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. One night, she witnesses a disturbing, violent argument between Henry’s beautiful mother and his arrogant father, one that threatens Gretel’s hard-won, self-contained existence.
All The Broken Places moves back and forth in time between Gretel’s girlhood in Germany to present-day London as a woman whose life has been haunted by the past. Now, Gretel faces a similar crossroads to one she encountered long ago. Back then, she denied her own complicity, but now, faced with a chance to interrogate her guilt, grief and remorse, she can choose to save a young boy. If she does, she will be forced to reveal the secrets she has spent a lifetime protecting. This time, she can make a different choice than before—whatever the cost to herself….
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Read this fabulous review in the Guardian All the Broken Places by John Boyne review – a sequel of sorts | John Boyne | The Guardian
When is a monster’s child culpable? Guilt and complicity are multifaceted. John Boyne is a maestro of historical fiction. You can’t prepare yourself for the magnitude and emotional impact of this powerful novel. – John Irving
A powerful novel about secrets and atonement after Auschwitz… All the Broken Places is a defence of literature’s need to shine a light on the darkest aspects of human nature; and it does so with a novelist’s skill, precision and power. – The Guardian
A complex, thoughtful character study that avoids easy answers.- Kirkus Reviews
In Gretel, Boyne has created a magnificently dyspeptic protagonist whose self-assurance, sharp tongue and wry humor are at odds with her private agony. – the Financial Times