RachelAnne's Reviews > The Mozart Question

The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo
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's review
May 21, 2009

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bookshelves: youngadult, historical, shortstories, childrens
Read in May, 2009

A poignant and beautifully executed short story about Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, presented in a glossy, illustrated book format. I liked the way the author framed the narrative as a story-within-a-story-within-a-story. He eases the reader back through layers of time and space to tell the tale of three musicians in a way that is resonant and comprehensible to readers as young as eight or nine, while not being too gory or emotionally immediate. I suppose that there is something to be said for the idea that the Holocaust ought to be the sort of thing that gives kids nightmares and makes readers nauseous, but I think that sometimes the shock value of gore and violence serve to make this historical travesty more surreal and less hauntingly human. This is the sort of book that probably won't trigger too many sweaty, screaming nightmares at 3AM, but it will lurk in the back of the mind and grow in pathos and meaning as readers grow older, forget juvenile nightmares and mature in their understanding. I think that is much more valuable than descriptions of gore that too easily blend with gratuitous movie violence.
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