Book Review|Cilka’s Journey
Denver Book Blogger
Cilka’s Journey Book Review
Today’s book review is for Cilka’s Journey. Cilka’s Journey is the sequel to The Tattoist of Auschwitz. If you were one of the people that truly LOVED The Tattooist of Auschwitz, then you will most likely also enjoy this book! It continues the story of Cilka, who we last saw being taken away from Auschwitz for being labeled a traitor and assisting the Nazis.
If you were like me, however, and found that while an interesting tale, The Tattooist fell short compared to several other very moving, profound historical fiction dramas about this era then you will ALSO find that Cilka’s journey falls flat again. Many of the issues I had with the original novel are once again in this book. The language is often brash and comes without warning. The scenes often plainly state what is happening verses painting a full picture of the many sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of a moment.
This novel picks up with Cilka’s journey after she leaves Auschwitz. Though she is liberted by the Russians, they send her to a labor camp for colluding with the Nazis. She is put on a train to northern Russian where it is freezing and living conditions are horrific. She is made to work, with little resources, and try to survive not only starvation, disease, and rape but also her own guilt from the past. Along the way, she makes friends and struggles with telling them the truth of what she did while in Auschwitz. She also amazingly befriends a doctor who teaches her how to be a nurse, helping get her into a coveted position with more food and shelter.
My favorite part of this novel is actually the author’s notes at the end. I have never really learned much about the Gulag system growing up other than little tidbits about Stalin. These details and the history of this area are incredibly interesting. Turns out, much isn’t shared because there literally were no pictures or films were ever allowed nor made public. Now that I know, I’m amazed more books aren’t set with this as a backdrop. I had no idea that we sent women and children there after being released as prisoners from Auschwitz. It’s appalling! But it happened, so I would love more historical fiction books set during this time!
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