Judges Comments

The dual timeline narrative is deftly handed by the author, using simple chapter headings to clearly delineate Emil’s experience as a young boy sent to Auschwitz and his teenage daughter Lisa’s life in the 1980s in Australia. The two timelines work together to explore themes of survival, secrets, and the transformative power of truth and storytelling. The historical setting is brought to life with incredibly vivid descriptions – the horror and violence of the Holocaust is balanced with small acts of kindness and a heartbreaking hyperfocus on food. The characterisation of Lisa felt authentic and relatable – her response to her father’s story and diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease was to initially turn away from her friends and escape into the arms of her boyfriend. This book would appeal to mature readers keen to learn about the Holocaust and take on a devastating, powerful story with the potential to make you cry.

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