Mischling by Affinity Konar is one of the toughest reads I ever encountered in my life.
This novel tells the story of 12 years old twin sisters Pearl and Stasha, who are introduced to the horrors of the Second World War in the most horrific way possible. They become part of “doctor” Mengele’s Zoo in Auschwitz, in 1944. This zoo is populated with children who bear a special interest to him. Pearl and Stasha go through horrors that go beyond human grasp. Because even though this is a novel, Mengele’s horrors are not. It’s difficult to imagine that he was a human being, who put children through the most horrible sufferings to satisfy his needs. He made the most abominable experiments on young children, twins especially.
Even though their childhood is being taken away from them, Pearl and Stasha find comfort in one another, in that particular connection only twins possess.
Until, one day, Pearl disappears. And Stasha ‘s last ray of hope seems to shatter.
From now on, we follow two different paths: Pearl and Stasha’s, and when the camp is finally liberated by the Red Army we begin a new journey, we go through what they go through, both of them using the power of hope to keep going, to keep fighting.
Until the very end, that will make you cry, and cry.
An amazing writing, powerful and soft at the same time.
These are two quotes that I will not forget:
“This is how I walk, I told myself. One step, then another. This is how I walk in memory of Pearl, the girl whose every step could have been musical, and for all time.”
“In my forgiveness, their failure to obliterate me was made clear.”