Monday, May 18, 2015

Thief of Glory - by Sigmund Brouwer: Book Review

I really don't know why I postponed reading this gem for so long. But now that I have, the word "gem" in that first sentence should give everyone an idea of how I feel about this book: Love&heartbroken.
As all good fiction books, this too should be read in one sitting. Basically, I'm inviting everyone to indulge in a lazy weekend and just read and read and read how young Jeremiah spent some 2+ years of his life in a Japanese concentration camp, how World War II looked like from the Dutchs' perspective [the Dutch in the Dutch East Indies], how some memories never leave one's brain no matter how fragile one becomes. It all starts with a marbles game between some kids, but there is nothing childlike, nor childish about it. I won't bother my fingers to write cliches such as "war changes people"&"war brings out unknown sides of one's personality" because there is no need to repeat what we've read about war for the past 70 years since the end of World War II. I'll focus instead on the characters. This is the kind of novel where no character is a "meh"; every one is needed, and in hindsight, it would have been a loss had he or she been left out. The children in this novel have so well formed personalities, which, of course, foreshadow the future adults. I, of course, liked Jeremiah, and in the end my heart ached for him. How couldn't it have, really? Laura Jensen is a much needed figure and presence in this novel, and I didn't realize it until the very end. Jeremiah's relationship with his mother, and the use of her name in contradiction with the word "mother" is something that is worth noticing. But really, everyone, and everything, is such a nice touch in the novel I can't imagine the book without any of them. This, I think, just shows how economical this novel really is when it comes to characters and details - it gives you enough to help you imagine things and get into the book, but it doesn't overwhelm the reader.
For those with a bent for historical fiction, this book should be read without any delay. This book deserves everyone of those 5stars.

In an author's note at the end of Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer, some details are given about the author's grandparents and parents, and some photos are shared. The author's family's life took a different course, but they were the source of inspiration. Also, more details about the book and helpful readings can be found of the book's site.There is also a reading guide and some questions at the end of the book and on the site, which helps making the book a perfect read for a book-club.

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