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Now I know, that doesn't sound like the title to a happy book. In fact, if you were actually looking for a book specifically about the Holocaust, I could gladly direct you to something much more in depth (for example, Tadeusz Borowski's "This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen"). However, Michael Chabon's roundabout detective novel will, unlike Borowski's stomach-churning opus, definitely leave you with a good feeling in your heart and a definite sharpening of the wits. Think of it as half placebo/half osmosis from the main character.
Basically, a young Jewish boy shows up in the middle of nowhere, England, in the middle of World War II with a Grey African Parrot. The boy is apparently mute, but the parrot (in addition to having a beautiful singing voice) has a curious tendency to rattle off series upon series of numbers in German. When he comes to reside in a small bed and breakfast, one of the men staying there at the time is murdered and the son of the pension's owners (one of whom is the local vicar) comes under suspicion, being a general good-for-nothing. In aid of figuring out what, exactly, has come to pass with this brutal death and the sudden disappearance of an exotic bird (who piques the interest of the local military effort), an aging retired detective is brought onto the case.
That doesn't really do the novel justice; it's the prose that makes the book so intriguing. In fact, I was so wrapped up in how Chabon writes that it took me some time to realize that this had all the elements of generic crime novel. The elaborate images Chabon creates of the old man tending to his beehives, or how the young boy and the parrot commune, is rather jaw-dropping. Great stuff, I can't reccomend it enough.
I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything
Well it is no standard plotline, I'll give you that. It seems like a very interesting novel, I might have to check it out. Reminds me of some of Ken Follet's work on World War 2 regarding spy work (Jackdaws).
If the world should blow itself up,the last audible voice would be an expert saying it can't be done