The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

A Novel

eBook - 2019
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This instant New York Times bestseller and longlist recipient for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medal takes place in 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, and follows three unforgettable young women who must act with courage and love to survive. “[A] hymn to the power of resistance, perseverance, and enduring love in dark times…gravely beautiful…Hoffman the storyteller continues to dazzle.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES “Oh, what a book this is! Hoffman’s exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching; and the humanity she brings to us—it is a glorious experience.” —ELIZABETH STROUT, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge “Alice Hoffman’s new novel will break your heart, and then stitch it back together piece by piece. It’s my new favorite Hoffman book.” —JODI PICOULT, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked. Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be. What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Simon & Schuster, 2019.
ISBN: 9781501137594
Characteristics: 384 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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peacebenow
Mar 28, 2020

Ms Hoffman used a lot of ingenuity and historical facts in writing this novel. I give her high praise for creating and intertwining the stories of Mariane, Lea, Ettie, Ava, Julien and Victor during the roundup and extermination of Jewish people during WW2. Many horrors of the war revealed and relieved making it very realistic. A touch of the supernatural adds to the power of good superseding self interest and more importantly, evil.

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pozrob
Feb 18, 2020

Alice Hoffman masterfully combines Jewish folklore with the horrifying reality of life (and death) during the Shoah. Her best work to date imo. Highly recommended given the times we live in.

“Monsters exist, but they are to few in number to be dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
Primo Levi

ArapahoeJulieH Jan 27, 2020

Historical fiction with a touch of Jewish mysticism which centers around the French and German Jewish children hidden in the north of France during WW2. I was left breathless after reading this book. One can’t help but become emotionally attached to the characters. The author explores what drives human survival in an evil and shattered world; while, at the same time, a world full of grace and beauty. In the end, it is the essence of love that upholds us.
As a longtime fan of Alice Hoffman’s magical realism, in my humble opinion, this is her masterpiece. Exquisite and timely...read it!

k
KatG1983
Jan 13, 2020

Beautiful historical fiction, mixed with a touch of Judaic mysticism, The World That We Knew is the compelling story of how connected individuals survived the horrors of World War II in Europe.

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pmarmstro
Jan 07, 2020

Loved the beauty of the written word, the soul of the characters, the faith of the noble minded.

ontherideau Dec 20, 2019

I get absorbed in Alice Hoffman novels, this one has left me with a heavy heart. The horrors of war in Europe repeat themselves family after family- as they did in history of course. She is a talented story teller. I wonder how the world has been able to forgive Germany for the suffering and loss in what is really a short time. With anti Semitism continuing even now- what lessons did people really learn?

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NadiaHathor
Dec 11, 2019

Alice's ability to draw the reader in from the first paragraph and hold them enthralled to the last sentence is in itself magikal and this novel continues that tradition. The inclusion of the golem within this horrific historical backdrop takes this novel into the realm of mysticism rarely seen in this genre. This is a story about Love, not only Love of others, but Love of Life itself, even when Life seems doomed. Adroit character development, nuanced plot combined with a gratifying ending delivers another timeless classic from a Master Storyteller.

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njon38
Dec 03, 2019

Alice Hoffman writes magical realism into a story set in Nazi Germany. The mother’s struggle to save her daughter involves a rabbi’s daughter, Ettie, creating a golem to protect Ava. They travel to Paris where a distant relative’s sons Victor and Julien become entangled with the girls. It is a terrific story however heartbreaking.

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Dtoogood
Nov 21, 2019

Best book of the year !! Loved the depth of all the characters , I felt like I was walking beside them as the story unfolded

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 17, 2019

The character of the golem is an original and fascinating touch. Does not pass the "Valerie" test for me. (I didn't become wrapped up in the fate of the main character). Didn't care for the writing. But that's me - the book received starred reviews from: Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus and is characterized by Novelist as "Literary Fiction."

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