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Lovely Green Eyes

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3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  339 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Hanka Kaudersová has ginger hair and clear, green eyes. When her family is deported to Auschwitz, her mother, father and younger brother are sent to the gas chamber. By a twist of fate, Hanka is faced with a simple alternative: follow her family, or work in an SS brothel behind the eastern front. She chooses to live, her Aryan looks allowing her to disguis ...more
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Published April 3rd 2003 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 863)
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Kat
Skinny is fifteen years old, Jewish and alone in Auschwitz. When faced with a decision between the gas chambers and working in a brothel, she chooses to hide her Jewishness and becomes a prostitute, servicing upwards of twelve soldiers each and every day.

Told in flashes of life before Auschwitz and her days in the brothel, Skinny manages to distance herself from being completely overwhelmed by her situation and instead focuses on keeping her clients happy by anticipating their every move. That d
...more
Frank
May 04, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, war, holocaust
Just finished this very powerful thought-provoking novel. It told the story of 15-year old Jewish “skinny” Hanka Kaudersova who with her family was deported to Auschwitz during WWII. Her mother, father, and younger brother are sent to the gas chamber but skinny survives by claiming to be 18 and by chance being sent to an SS brothel behind the eastern front where her Aryan looks allowed her to disguise the fact she was Jewish. She has to service 12 or more German soldiers per day while at the bro ...more
Zvi Jonathan
Feb 02, 2014 Zvi Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arnos Lustig was a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald who in after the war who would be voice of consceince all his life, reigning from the Czech Communist Party in 1967 in protest at Czechoslovakia breaking ties with Israel and presecuting Jews in that country and leaving Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion of 1968
This astonishing and moving story bring to life the horrors of the Nazi holocaust and World War II written by a remarkable man who lived through them.
15 year old Hanka Kudersov
...more
Fatima Grace
Feb 17, 2014 Fatima Grace rated it liked it
The story is overwhelming. I can see the scenes that happened in Auschwitz by imagining it through the author's words. I feel for the girls who had to use their bodies in order to survive. I hate the Holocaust. The book itself isn't bad, it's just that it's all over the place! It keeps on jumping from one character to the other.. All the time I have to verify from a previous chapter who "I" was in the next chapter. I understand that it was supposed to be narrated by someone who loves Skinny, but ...more
Radovan
Jun 27, 2015 Radovan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Asi nejhorší kniha o holocaustu, co jsem kdy četl a že jsem jich přečetl alespoň 100. Připadá mi, že literárně provaření autoři to prostě neumí. Podobným zklamáním byl pro mě Imre Kertész, nositel Nobelovy ceny za literaturu.
Možná by i Lustigovi pomohlo, kdyby od sebe odděloval text - místa, kde v každém odstavci píše o něčem jiném jsou absolutně nepřehledné. Kniha prakticky ani nemá děj.
Takže autoři, kteří napsali třeba jen jednu knihu, pro mě zatím daleko vítězí nad literáty typu Lustiga. Kdo
...more
Chrissi
Apr 19, 2013 Chrissi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up in Prague after visiting Terezin, the concentration camp about an hour from the city mentioned in the novel. WWII and Holocaust history has always both interested and horrified me. In reading Lovely Green Eyes, I was asked to consider another part of this history: what happens to the survivors, the ones who live with the memories of the time, the horrors they have seen? "Skinny" - the nickname she earns at the field brothel - passes as an Aryan, and after the deaths of her ...more
Sarah
Sep 25, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
I'm always drawn in by accounts or stories of what people went through at the hands of the Nazi mindset. I appreciated this book because it discussed two sides I'd not really read anything on before. On one hand there were the survivors, those who managed to drag themselves through right to the end of the war & face the no doubt near impossible task of trying to move on. And then there was the side of those who fought for the Nazi side, & believed strongly in everything that side fought ...more
Richard Jespers
Seems unclear who the narrator is—a man who eventually marries “Skinny,” a young girl who is turned into a prostitute by the Germans in WWII. Or rather, she accepts this lot to save herself (the rest of her family have been killed). Engrossing at times.

As Jane Smiley says, it is a difficult book to read. And as always—as with any translation—something is lost. Some energy. Some meaning. Some intent. Some emotion. All are transformed in that change from one language to another.
Abailart
Apr 25, 2008 Abailart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was introduced to this wonderful writer by a friend who knew of my interest in the Holocaust experience of the human mind, through history, interpretations, memoirs and the creative arts. The book added to the texture of my understanding.
More than this, it added yet more to my treasure of literary experience. Here is a unique voice: sparse, consistent and controlled, and immensely powerful.
You are unlikely ever to come across such a chilling description of the broken mind of a psycopathic ki
...more
Janet
Aug 01, 2011 Janet rated it it was ok
Faced with a choice of working in a brothel or being executed, Hanka - or Skinny as she becomes known - chooses to live. Because of her Aryan looks she is not recognised as Jewish and is therefore sent to the Russian front and begins work as a prostitute. She has to tolerate some difficult treatment by some of the German soldiers, but others treat her well.

Her story is dealt with sympathetically and despite the subject-matter is not graphic. Ultimately it is a novel about survival. Although well
...more
Kim
Apr 26, 2014 Kim rated it liked it
This was a pretty disturbing tale of a teenage Jewish girl who manages to escape death in the concentration camps due to her Aryan appearance but ends up in a brothel for German soldiers, having to 'service' 12 or more German soldiers every day. The book was fiction but read like a memoir; the language was quite understated which may have been either the author's style or a result of the translation. The narrator kept changing, also the time period seemed to jump back and forth, both of which we ...more
Bruce
May 10, 2015 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, holocaust
A rather dark novel with a plausible plot. In order to survive a 15 year old Jewish girl takes advantage of a power outage to join a group of volunteers to a field brothel. Upon arrival at Auschwitz Hanka adds three years to her age, thus when the requirement is for girls eighteen years or older and not Jewish and she is the last to be interviewed and accepted. While she is the main thread in the story, a few male characters get a lot of print. This novel also raises philosophical questions in r ...more
Vicki
Jun 09, 2009 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is told in these vivid flashes and pieces -- so beautiful and sad and frightening. Skinny (the nickname she earns) is a Czech Jew who gets mistaken for a Gentile, and becomes a prostitute in a German field brothel. She must now sleep with the very soldiers and men who are persecuting her people. You read this novel breathlessly -- you worry what will happen to Skinny at every turn. The story has so many beautiful passages and images, though, that it's enough to carry you through the s ...more
Timothy W
Jun 30, 2015 Timothy W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Heartbreaking.
Othón León
Nov 25, 2012 Othón León rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Lustig takes you back to the origins of human nature, through the almost inocent look of those lovely green eyes; Skinny (Hanka Kaudersová) makes you wonder time after time, thought after thought and movement after movement, of our human "borders", our inescapable limmited conditions, sometimes even, reminding us of not only our sure mortality but the "trap" our bodies represent. Finally, Lustig and Skinny reminded me that there are no answers, just a bunch of hard questions...
Talea
Jan 20, 2008 Talea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. INcredible book. From this book alone, I now want to learn more of the horrors from inside the concentration camps. Though it was grim and makes you cringe and maybe even cry, it will soften you and make you really hope that humans will one day stop being so damned stupid.
Amazing. I loved every second of it and fell in love with the main character and felt all of her pain and eventual hollowness as she did what she had to to make it out alive.
Michele
Apr 01, 2014 Michele rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy this book.
Andrew
Jul 17, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it
Recommended to Andrew by: alena
good book. very insightful into the thoughts and emotions of someone in a terrible situation in the holocaust.

this book was originally written in czech and much like reading other translated works, i could feel that i was missing bits and pieces throughout. the translation was good, it all made sense and painted a graphic, disturbing, and masterful picture of the character, but something was missing.

Brooke
Very sad, but it's written in such a sparse way that you actually feel completely disconnected to the characters. I suppose it's supposed to mirror the depressing life of the main character, but it actually makes it hard to feel for her because it seems like nothing is virtually known about her by the time the book is finished--especially since the majority of her dialogue is "I don't know."
Joss
I found this book quite hard to get into, mainly because the chronology jumps around and isn't fully explained. It is a very difficult testimony of a harrowing time, but I actually felt there could have been more depth to it. Perhaps the author felt a light touch was more appropriate. Personally I prefer 'And the Violins stopped playing' (about the Gypsies and Auschwitz).
Fiona
Feb 02, 2015 Fiona rated it really liked it
Visceral and evocative. This was hard to read at times, but never salacious. It resonates deeply with the pain of those who survived the Holocaust and saw their families killed before them. I think that, having absorbed so many Holocaust stories, I'd become slightly inured to the overwhelming horror of it, but this story cut right through that.
Bachyboy
Jun 24, 2008 Bachyboy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly harrowing read and yet it is beautifully written. I know I am always going to admire anything published by Harvill Press. 15 year old Hanka is deported to Auschwitz and manages to stay alive by becoming a prostitute for the German soldiers. I have just read it again and given it to my daughter to read.
Ellen
Apr 13, 2015 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A haunting story of a Jew who survives the war by working as a prostitute in a field brothel. This story uses an omniscient perspective, so I often found it difficult to connect to certain characters, but this did offer a great breadth of insight into the situation at the brothel.
Mac Gifford
Jan 02, 2009 Mac Gifford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A shocking story of Nazi evil perpetrated on a young Czech woman of Jewish descent. There are scenes that are so full of emotion that you will be unable to sit still in your chair. I need not say anymore for fear of taking away the surprise.
Cooper Renner
Apr 10, 2011 Cooper Renner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not flawless, but a masterpiece nonetheless. The story of a 15-year-old Jewish girl who is able to survive World War II under the Nazis by passing as non-Jewish and serving as an official prostitute for soldiers. Heartbreaking, but not maudlin.
Cherie
Dec 15, 2007 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A- Fantastic story (even if the chronology and flashbacks become a bit confusing at times) about a Jewish teenager who conceals her age and religion to survive during the Holocaust, where she works as a prostitute for the Germany army
Isolabella
Jan 24, 2011 Isolabella rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
War brings out the evil in human being. This is the story of a young woman Hanka Kaudersova Czech Jew, because of her Aryan look, she avoided the gas chamber and worked in an SS brothel. Here she will experience hell on earth.
Linda
Mar 18, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful story by this Czech author. Holocaust fiction with a ring of truth. Good v. evil. Lots of redemption. The usual themes but the characters come alive in a unique way. I'll read more of this author.
Debra
Jan 30, 2008 Debra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those intrested in the holocaust
Recommended to Debra by: VINCE
It has the same theme most books do that are about Auschwitz survivers.
The story tells of women who chose to work in brothels instead of going to death camps.I never got tired of the book and it keep my intrest.
Lynn Lipinski
Jan 02, 2011 Lynn Lipinski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written book about a young Jewish woman hiding her identity in a brothel for Nazi soldiers. Very powerful story, written by Arnost Lustig, who spent part of his childhood in concentration camps.
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Arnošt Lustig (born 21 December 1926 in Prague) is a renowned Czech Jewish author of novels, short stories, plays, and screenplays whose works have often involved the Holocaust.

As a Jewish boy in Czechoslovakia during World War II, he was sent in 1942 to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, from where he was later transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, followed by time in the Buchenwal
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