The first time I saw him, I knew what he wanted from me. He was not a burden, but he was heavy." - Scarlett Ouo
Set in 1950s Detroit, this is the passionate love story of Tomas Yusef, a young man that came of age during Nazi occupied Poland - a man hardened by the horrors of war, and his obsession, Scarlett Ouo, the woman determined to love him in spite of his cruelty.
Savage takes a journey through time to explore the depravities of war, and also the redemption found by unconditional love.
I did not expect this to be a book about the holocaust - so I was surprised to find that most of the book recounts one man's experiences in the Warsaw ghetto and later at a concentration camp. We follow Tomas in his battle for survival.
The book is actually the diary notes of Tomas's wife, Scarlett. In this book, Scarlett has died from cancer and Tomas is old and it is their pregnant daughter-in-law who discovers the diary and decides to read it with her husband. Scarlett has documented how Tomas survived and the scars this left on him.
The story is well written and harrowing. For me, a particular strength of this author was her attention to the relationships of her main characters - Tomas, his father and uncle, his mother, his sister, Tomas's best friend - they are all beautifully written. Though, of course, the dreadful deaths of many of them makes difficult reading.
Well done to Angel Berry for her wonderful prose.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non reciprocal review.