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Lovely Green Eyes

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  371 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
She has hair of ginger and lovely green eyes, and she has just been transported with her family from Terezin to Auschwitz. In short order, her father commits suicide, and her mother and younger brother are dispatched to the gas chambers, but 15 year old Hanka Kaudersova is still alive. Faced with the choice of certain death in the camp or working in a German military broth ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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225th out of 617 books — 56 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 946)
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Daavid
A well-written book, considering Holocaust Literature work of Fiction from a Czech Holocaust Survivor.

This one is about a minor Jewish girl who is able to keep herself from a Concentration Camp, and be a part of a brothel that has been established for the service of the German officers and soldiers who are fighting the Soviet Union on the eastern front during their retreating days of WW II.

It was a good book. Providing a different side and perspective, on the lives of the 'sisters' living in a b
...more
Gary
Mar 31, 2016 Gary 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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aveen
Apr 09, 2016 Aveen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was pretty good. I didn't realise until I went to read it that it was fiction, as I prefer real life accounts and stories. However when you are reading it, it reads pretty much like a memoir. Also the Author was a survivor themselves.

This gave an insight into how it may have been for those forced to work as prostitutes for the German soldiers which was interesting and horrifying at the same time.

There were times when reading the story that I wasn't sure which character, or
...more
Fatima Grace
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
Hannah Davis
Jul 09, 2016 Hannah Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was simply told while still being moving. The author created incredibly vividly the world, the hell, that Skinny lived in, without being excessively descriptive or wordy, and left me feeling satisfied at the end. Very rarely does a novel like this one end convincingly or satisfactorily, but this one managed to leave me satisfied and happy, if not with a bittersweet taste in my mouth.

The story was told very creatively, with the first person POV being from a character other than Skinny
...more
Heather
This is not an easy book to read as it about a 15 year-old Jewish girl who chooses to become a prostitute in a German brothel rather than face death in the gas chambers like the rest of her family did. Throughout the book there are lists of names: 12 German men, presumably Hanka's quota for the day. At times there is graphic violence and the sex that Hanka has to endure day after day is stomach churning. Hanka's youth, confusion and guilt is all too real as she keeps asking herself if she made t ...more
Erika Dreifus
I read this book for the first time while I had the privilege of taking a writing workshop led by its author. An unforgettable novel, by an extraordinary man.
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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).
Dana Dinowitz
One of the hardest books I've ever read. Not because of the way it was written but the depth of despair was almost too much to bear. I had a hard time recognizing who was telling the story. It seemed to me the perspective changed without warning and I had to go back just to make sure I hadn't skipped something important. A good read not great.
Fiona
Feb 02, 2015 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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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
...more
More about Arnošt Lustig...

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