Noah's Child by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

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Noah's Child by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

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Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: An emotional story that's engaging and easy to read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Atlantic Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848874183

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Joseph, a young Belgian Jew, is sent away by his parents when they grow nervous about the treatment of Jews during World War Two. He is taken in by a village priest, Father Pons, and given a new identity and a place in Father Pons' school along with an assortment of other children, some of whom are genuine pupils and others who are, like Joseph, seeking sanctuary.

The story is told from Joseph's point of view, making everything very immediate and personal. The author somehow manages to make it both believable from a child's point of view and yet not overly simplistic. I found myself very quickly caught up in the story and I liked that as well as the dark moments there was humour there too.

Father Pons is a wonderful character and Joseph soon discovers that he is not only risking his life to save the Jewish boys in his care but he also hides a secret of his own which will help to save the Jewish faith in the future. There are moments of suspense, as you'd expect in a WW2 story, and yet at the same time, it slips easily into a boys boarding school story style too and then just as quickly into something very emotional and moving. Paced well, the story slips through your fingers with ease and will take fast readers just one satisfying sitting to complete.

There are some interesting thoughts about faith, both Judaism and Christianity, and I liked that the book looks all the way through to the aftermath of the holocaust, and some of the difficulties the survivors faced. The conclusion is thoughtful and it felt like a wonderfully easy yet stylish read throughout.

It's a story I could see myself returning to again in the future simply to enjoy the wonderful writing style.

If you haven't already then you really should read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. You might also appreciate Anti-Judaism: A History of a Way of Thinking by David Nirenberg.

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Buy Noah's Child by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Noah's Child by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt at


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