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3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  169 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
March 1944: War’s darkest period descends upon Hungary’s Jews. By the time it ends in January 1945, over half a million Jews will have been murdered. Gratitude tells the story of that period, through the eyes of the wealthy Beck family, whose lives and loves are saved and lost. At the center of it all is Paul Beck, a young lawyer whose chance meeting with a visiting Swede, ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published March 30th 2008)
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May 02, 2010 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Promise squandered can get one's back up; your expectations are dashed, so you lash out. Hence the two stars here. Yes, I'm a spiteful codger.

Joseph Kertes' story about Hungarian Jews during World War II certainly has much to recommended it (and I seem to be in the minority in my disappointment), but the author's attempts to enrich this apparently fact-based tale of his family with background and character-building provoked in me irritation that he wouldn't just get on with it.

"Gratitude" opens
Sharif Khan
Nov 03, 2015 Sharif Khan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As WWII draws to a brutal end, Hitler’s storm cloud of tyranny descends upon Hungary’s Jews. A sad yet soaring tale of a Hungarian Jewish family caught up in the cruel chaos, Joseph Kertes’ third novel, GRATITUDE, is a sweeping literary achievement that serves as a powerful humbling force – taking the reader through the dark night of the soul and into the spangled light.

Sixteen-year-old Lili Bandel emerges from her small Jewish village of Tolgy as the sole survivor in a place turned into a deso
Jan 23, 2015 Micebyliz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
not the novel it could have been. a good story but told in a simplistic style that detracts from the narrative. couldn't finish it. i do recommend to those interested to read
more on Wallenberg.
If you are interested in the story of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg's efforts to save Hungarian Jews during WWII by issuing them Swedish citizenship papers and putting them in safe houses, you should read this book. By itself, that is a fascinating tale. If you are interested in Hungary, you should also read it. But, while it was definitely readable, I was not impressed with the writing. Kertes puts long philosophical treatises in the mouths of characters at the most unlikely times. And, whi ...more
Grant Whitehead
A great read. Loved the characters and the descriptive narrative of the concentration camp experience.
Mar 13, 2014 Donnamrichard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn't get into this story even though the subject matter is one that I love to read and learn about in novels
Aug 03, 2014 Jamila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read. Can't wait for the follow-up.
Ora Hudes
Mar 25, 2015 Ora Hudes marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
May 26, 2014 SJM rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mar 12, 2012 Ayms219 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A moving story that sets WWII in a place and perspective we don't often see with some of the most memorable lines I have ever read. I am lucky enough to have interviewed the author after reading it. The thing I love about hearing a writer describe their own characters is how it sounds like they're talking about real, 3-dimentional friends and family members. I think a gifted author brings their characters to life and knows them intimately. Finishing a book must be like saying goodbye to an old f ...more
Sean Bailey
Jan 10, 2012 Sean Bailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gratitude isn’t your typical America comes to save the day kind of book. It takes place in Hungary, mainly in Budapest, and follows a family of Hungarian Jews who, along with the rest of their country have gone relatively unscathed from the war that’s been going on around them throughout Europe. Eventually though, Hitler and his ever expanding empire begins to take over and life as they knew it was turned upside down.

My full review:
Shar Wallis
May 24, 2012 Shar Wallis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book that is mainly about Hungarian Jews during WWII and the holocaust. It is fiction, but had a lot of history in it too. The characters were believable, but there were some scenes and dialogue that didn't seem necessary for the flow of the book. Still, it was interesting, and I'd recommend it.
I wanted to keep reading, because the opening chapter was very good. However, the dialogue was awful, and so stilted I almost felt they were speaking in non sequiturs. Even though the descriptive passage and internal monologues were excellent, I could invest time in 512 pages of people speaking like idiots.
May 26, 2008 Rona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why another Holocaust novel? I've read a few, but this one, set in Hungary, kept me turning the pages and hoping for a mini-series. The storytelling is occasionally perfunctory, but Kertes creates beautifully rounded characters who pull you into their vanished world.
Lynora Saxinger
Aug 11, 2012 Lynora Saxinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaged from the start, a very human story of people surviving and trying to make sense of the unfathomable chaos of violence and war. Well drawn characters, very memorable scenes...ultimately both inspiring and tragic.
Nov 14, 2010 Maureen rated it really liked it
I read this in Hungary. The gripping story of Hungary's Jewish community was all the more moving when we could actually visit the landmarks in Budapest, Auschwitz.
Nov 30, 2009 Francine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only four stars because it was a bit too long. But it's a harrowing glimpse of 1940s Hungary and what two families did to survive. Heartbreaking.
Jun 25, 2013 Fran rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good story. I appreciated learning about Hungary during WW2. The writing was on the awkward side and I found myself distracted by it.
Aug 31, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Diane by: Rachel
I should have updated this earlier.
I was really pulled into this book.
Well done.
Amy Hustead
Started out great, but dragged on a bit too long. Overall I would recommend.
Jul 07, 2012 Livros is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A ler em português.
Rael Michira
Rael Michira rated it it was amazing
Sep 23, 2016
Edina Szabo
Edina Szabo marked it as to-read
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Seth Dvorak rated it it was amazing
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Madeleine rated it it was amazing
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Joseph Kertes was born in Hungary (1951) but escaped with his family to Canada after the revolution of 1956.

He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto, where he was encouraged in his writing by Irving Layton and Marshall McLuhan.

Kertes founded Humber College's distinguished creative writing and comedy programs. He is currently Humber's Dean of Creative and Performing Arts
More about Joseph Kertes...

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