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BookBrowse Reviews The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

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The World That We Knew

by Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman X
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
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  • Published:
    Sep 2019, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis
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This moving magical realist novel follows a group of teens as they resist Nazi forces and aid Jewish refugees in Europe at the height of WWII.

Alice Hoffman's sparkling prose and immersive descriptions of place summon readers into World War II. Chapters are place- and time-marked from 1941-1944, to guide readers through a suspenseful journey. Told by an omniscient narrator, the novel begins in Berlin, 1941, and swiftly moves to France, where Nazis control most of the territory including Paris. Typical of stories set during wartime, there is much death. Yet, the novel also flows with lyrical imagery, and flashes of magical realism are common. A few supporting characters—the Angel of Death, a heron, and a golem—reveal explicit magical powers, while the leads all have what I call "ordinary-super powers," exhibiting traits such as bravery under trying circumstances. As the plot unfolds Hoffman chronicles many forms of resistance and develops a vivid cast of characters, most of them teens; they are often separated, but ...

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