The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Harper. Sept. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780062870674. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9780062797155. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062797162. F
OrangeReviewStarOriginally intended as a screenplay, this compelling debut is based on the life of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew imprisoned for almost three years at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he served as the tattooist marking prisoners. Soon after the 25-year-old arrives at Birkenau, he contracts typhus and is left for dead. Rescued by fellow inmates and Pepan, an older French man and tattooist, Lale learns Pepan's trade, which, along with fluency in six languages, allows Lale privileges of a single room and extra food. His sole mission is to survive the unbelievable horrors, until he meets young Gita. Then he vows to marry her. Despite the bleakness and death surrounding them, Lale and Gita's passionate love blooms in their precious moments alone. Readers will root for the two despite the many obstacles they face.
VERDICT Historical fiction and memoir fans will be gripped by this unforgettable Holocaust story. [See Prepub Alert, 3/26/18.]
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