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Wartime Lies: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Extraordinary...Rich in irony and regret...[the] people and settings are vividly realized and his prose [is] compelling in its simplicity."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek's once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the war, running, hiding, changing their names, forging documents to secure their ...
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Wartime Lies: A Novel

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Overview

"Extraordinary...Rich in irony and regret...[the] people and settings are vividly realized and his prose [is] compelling in its simplicity."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek's once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the war, running, hiding, changing their names, forging documents to secure their temporary lives—as the insistent drum of the Nazi march moves ever closer to them and to their secret wartime lies.


BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Louis Begley's Memories of a Marriage.

An exquisite, acclaimed, novel of the Holocaust, as seen through the eyes of a young Polish boy. "A remarkable, elegiac novel."--Time. Chosen by The New York Times as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year. Nominated for the National Book Award. Winner of the 1991 Irish Times-Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An orphaned nine-year-old and his sharp-tongued aunt pose as Catholic Poles to hide their Jewish identity from the Nazis in this haunting, powerful Holocaust novel, which was nominated for a National Book Award and chosen as one of PW 's best books of 1991. (July)
Library Journal
The teller of this tale reveres the Aeneid because ``that is where he first found civil expression for his own shame at being alive, skin intact and virgin of tattoo, when his kinsmen and almost all the others, so many surely more deserving than he, perished in the conflagration.'' Indeed, this seems a very real attempt on the part of the author to expurgate, or at least come to terms with, a sense of guilt that has haunted him throughout his life and to reflect on the lingering impact of evil on individual lives. Survival in wartime often requires compromise, but for a young Jewish boy and his aunt, survival in wartime Poland requires a total suspension of identity. It is the ultimate act of theater, requiring a careful and constant denial of one's heritage. For the child, the tragedy is that suspension becomes loss: ``He became an embarrassment and slowly died. A man who bears one of the names Maciek used has replaced him. . . . Our man has no childhood he can bear to remember.'' A moving addition to Holocaust literature and one well recommended.-- David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307761934
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/22/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 398,457
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Louis Begley
Louis Begley
Louis Begley lives in New York City. His previous novels are Wartime Lies, The Man Who Was Late, As Max Saw It, About Schimdt, Mistler’s Exit, Schmidt Delivered, and Shipwreck.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Reading Group Guide

"Extraordinary...Rich in irony and regret...[the] people and settings are vividly realized and his prose [is] compelling in its simplicity."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek's once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the war, running, hiding, changing their names, forging documents to secure their temporary lives--as the insistent drum of the Nazi march moves ever closer to them and to their secret wartime lies.


From the Paperback edition.

1. In Wartime Lies, the religious tension is evident from the
very beginning as Maciek tells his tale. What events occur
that mark the increasing tension from Maciek's perspective?

2. The passages from the perspective of "the man with sad
eyes" are meticulously placed throughout the novel. Using
your "sympathy and imagination," what links can you draw
between the content of these passages and the moment in
Maciek's life they interrupt?

3. In chapter four, Maciek punches Pan Wladek in the
chest. Why does he react so violently to the accusation
(made most likely as a partial jest) that he has been "evil" by
cheating?

4. Louis Begley mentioned that Dante could be considered
"the greatest connoisseur of evil." In what ways does Dante
and his Inferno relate to the experiences described in Wartime
Lies
?

5. Seemingly more than most young children, Maciek is
somewhat obsessed with being liked. Why do you think this
is? And how does this conflict with the "show" that he and
Tania are constantly putting on?

6. At one point,Maciek tells us, "Tania thought she loved
Reinhard, probably as much as she ever loved anybody"
(page 68). Throughout the novel, how does Tania relate to
men and love?

7. There are several ways in which the title, Wartime Lies,
relates to the principal characters in the novel. What are
some of those ways? And how have these lies forever
changed Tania and Mayciek's sense of ethics and morality?

8. If the world of Wartime Lies is one where everyone bears
a burden of guilt, what guilt do Maciek, Tania, Grandfather,
and Reinhard carry?

9. When Maciek must attend catechism classes, something
in his perception shifts. How does Maciek feel about this
experience?

10. How does Wartime Lies compare to other novels about
the Holocaust you may have read?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2001

    Amazing

    Begley combines the rich ironic tone of a young boy's narrative perspective with a deep sense of sweeping, historical tragedy. The plot moves swiftly; the voice is wonderful and consistent throughout. Begley brings the terror of the Holocaust back to life and does not let it fade. Bravo.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    A wonderful piece of writing!

    You just do not find quality writing like this anymore!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2005

    Insightful

    Sometimes a book offers the chance to grow and find greater appreciation for life; and reader, you will find this a lovely book chock full of wisdom.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted September 19, 2011

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