the tattooist of auschwitz

Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a 2018 Holocaust novel by New Zealand novelist Heather Morris. The book tells the story of how Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz in 1942, fell in love with a girl he was tattooing at the concentration camp. Part fiction and influenced by reality, it was a wonderful read.

Well let me tell you dear Mere Mortalites, taking a gander at other reviews of this book by Heather Morris is a little like walking through a minefield, nothing but craters of one-stars here and there with some 5-star reviews thrown in for the mix. Why? Well, in particular the harsh reviews either tackle the books style of writing or the plausible explotation of the facts that underly the mostly fictional story presented in this book.

What have we got to say about this book then? Well, I'll go against the grain and say we actually fell somewhere in the middle. The story was excellent, the love story intermingled within the dark depravity that was the prison camps touching and some of the later escapes in the book fascinating. Was all of it real? As Heather puts it herself, most of this was taken from Lale directly, the things he remembered and what she could match with facts. Other pieces are fiction of course, as many of the parts with Gita would be merely heresay or well placed ideas.

In the end, it is an enjoyable read, builds up the characters effectively, stumbles on some aspects, drags in others but by the end of the book I wasn't surprised to have enjoyed it overall.

One thing is for certain, Lale seemed like a man's man, so i'll raise a glass to that.