What’s it about?
Varian Fry was honored at Yad Vashem as “righteous among the nations” for his work rescuing victims of the Holocaust. In this novel Julie Orringer imagines his time in France during the early occupation of France. He comes to France to aid in getting as many artists out of Europe as he can. It is an insurmountable task.
What did it make me think about?
How would you choose the criteria for who to save?
Should I read it?
I loved The Invisible Bridge and I have been looking at this book on my nightstand with anticipation since it came out. Unfortunately, although beautifully written, this book was just too long. Once I started reading I found that Julian Fry was not a character I was terribly interested in. It seemed like every other page he talked about "Harvard" and his days there. He came off as a prig. Ms. Orringer threw in a homosexual love story to spice up the novel but even that couldn't add enough interest to make this book exciting. The book needed to be edited. I am sorry to say that even though I am sure Varian Fry was a hero, and there were real moral dilemmas involved, this story was work to get through.
“Did he actually care less about saving human beings if those human beings couldn’t write a perfect novel or make an enduring painting.”
If you liked this try-
The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave