A story about overcoming adversity, the challenges of being an immigrant and the resounding impact of WWII and the holocaust all wrapped up in an Australian hospital for children recovering from Polio. London vividly describes the inner world of her characters removing a veil to allow the reader a glimpse into the many complicated motivations that influence who her characters have become.
When my husband went to our indie bookseller looking for a Christmas gift, he asked for something not too sappy with good characters. This was the recommendation, and I agree with the assessment. I was close to the end before I felt truly invested in the characters. The author described the immigrant experience and the common struggles faced by both the patients and the parents as they each faced loneliness, judgment and misunderstanding.
This is a novel about overcoming adversity. Unfortunately, it is rather superficial and reads like young adult fiction.
Tender and evocative story of two young people who fall in love while recovering in a polio rehabilitation hospital in post-World War II Australia. This book won all major literary awards in Australia for a good reason. All of the characters - the families, staff, other patients - are drawn so well. And, London also explores the contrasts of class backgrounds and immigrant experiences of the characters with understated but "spot on" descriptions.
I think this is a lovely book. The story (like the prose and like the setting) seems spare and elegant. The characters--not just the two main but many of the minor--are well drawn and detailed. The interactions between them are leisurely and yet powerful.
The main two characters are children in an Australian polio hospital just after WWII. One is the child of Hungarian refugees. The two children fall in love, in a way that seems completely plausible.
Very firmly set in its time and place, it's really worth reading.
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