Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Richard Zimler - Warsaw Anagrams

Over 75 people packed out the large meeting room at Bournemouth Library to see Richard Zimler talk about this new book, as part of Jewish Book Week. They were not disappointed Richard is a brilliant speaker and was happy to discuss all his books with the audience. This book is stunning and very unusual. It is a murder mystery set in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, just before the uprising. So for those who know their history there is already a sense of menace hanging over the inhabitants of the ghetto. We follow Erik Cohen a psychiatrist in his 60s forcibly moved into the ghetto when his flat was requisitioned. Unable to work, he grumpily moves in with his niece and her son Adam. Then Adam goes missing, and finally is found murdered, in the barbed wire surrounding the ghetto. Erik decides to investigate his great-nephews death. Richard captures the enclosed, claustraphobia of the ghetto brilliantly. WE are presented with the whole gamut of the human race in that confined place . What unfolds is a gripping tale of evil, horror, hardship, friendship, heroism and hope and above all the resilience of one elderly man who refuses to give up no matter what the consequences. I hope this book wins an award it certainly deserves to.