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The Savior

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A magnetic debut novel from world-renowned violinist Eugene DruckerSet during the final weeks of World War II, "The Savior" is the story of Gottfried Keller, a young German violinist. Exempted from military service, Keller is burdened with the demoralizing task of playing for wounded soldiers in hospitals and makeshift infirmaries.

As he leaves his apartment one morning to
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published July 17th 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.47  · 
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Lynn Wilson
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book that works on many levels. It is about the anguish one feels when confronted with a morally complex situation. On another level it is about the potential of music to heal both the musician and the listener. It's a very timely and important book in this time of fundamentalism, bullying and burning of mosques and overthrow of regimes. This is one of those treasures that I would love to share with everyone I know.
Interesting premise and setting (a musician is asked to perform in a concentration camp to "revive" prisoners) but unfortunately, the characters left me completely cold.

I felt no empathy towards Gottfried (the violinist) nor the inmates: Gottfried because he was an unlikable and predictable character, the inmates because they only remained shadows. Somehow Drucker couldn't convey the atrocity and horror that these inmates would have experienced, they were just empty shells there to prop up the
Heather Buelow
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Eugene Druckner’s The Savior delves into both the possibilities and the limitations of music as a vehicle for transcendence. Set in a concentration camp, Druckner’s naive violinist is directed to perform for a select group of prisoners in an experiment concocted by the camp’s general. Such an extreme setting allows Druckner to demonstrate the most extreme effect or ineffect of music’s capabilities.

Unfortunately the work feels muddled, making it difficult to piece together where Druckner would
Elyse Rudin
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Short but terrific story about a Catholic violin virtuoso in WWII Berlin. He was 4F so his contribution to the war effort was to play for the injured soldiers. The SS call on him to play for concentration camp prisoners. How this affectes him and the prisoners he played for was gut wrenching. I was caught up in this book from the moment I started. It is grusome and thought provoking at the same time. A must read for any holocaust enthusiast.
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
As Holocaust books go, this one isn't up there at the top. It's an interesting story, but nothing to rave about. If you are interested in this topic, there are much better books that deal with the history of the Nazi era, persecution, "ordinary" Germans, etc.
Apr 23, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I do not recommend this book. Only a professional violinist would understand the parts about music, and there are some very disturbing scenes that occur inside the fences of the concentration camp. I was very disappointed.
Marilyn Crosbie
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was well written and held my attention, despite the subject matter being unpleasant. One aspect that kept me reading was the fact that Keller was a musician, as am I. I kept reading, as I wanted to know what was going to happen to Marietta and the Grete, the two women that appealed to Keller. The ending took me by surprise, but I wasn't left hoping for more.
Kathy Augustine
Aug 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Now I know what it sounds like if a music theory book tries to tell a WW2 story.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
… to maybe a five star rating....

Why the dual rating? Well, if you read the book without familiarity with the music that the protagonist plays, or without being able to evoke, or at least be moved by the music he mentions by title, I personally think the book loses much of its impact. I also think the character's programming over the four days also has meaning, both in the difficulty, tonal qualities and general musical and technical emphasis in terms of the solo violin repertoire.

Drucker is an
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The author of this one is impressive. He's a violinist who has won eight Grammys, and he's the son of an award-winning violinist who fled Germany before the Holocaust.[return][return]This adult novel is the story of Gottfried Keller, a German violinist who isn't in the army because of a weak heart. Instead, he performs solos at soldier hospitals because he is told to. He constantly thinks about his former girlfriend who ran away to Palestine when Germany was becoming uncomfortable for Jewish ...more
Kathrin Peters
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A moving story, towards the end increasingly difficult to read because of the brutality it describes. However, despite the background of real atrocities, I found the story of Gottfried Keller contrived and most characters seemed to me shallow in their description. It is a quick read if you can deal with the difficult end but there are more profound approaches to engaging with the Holocaust than this one, in particular by Wiesel and Levi who lived through it themselves. In fact, I almost query ...more
Richard Duncan
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A powerful story, dealing with life (or lack of it) in an impossibly horrible situation.

Set in the holocaust, the book follows a musician who is chosen to play for prisoners in a Nazi internment camp. Fair warning, parts of it are extremely difficult, with a graphic, unstinting look at the horrors of the camps.

The author shows a deep understanding of and a true passion for music, often describing pieces in loving detail. Clearly the work of a musician. (The author is a violinist.)

My problem
Richard Brand
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
This may be a well written book and it may make all kinds of psychological truth, but I did not find it very satisfying. It is a hard story to read and to believe. I do believe that it could reflect a reality in Germany and a camp during the killing of the Jews. The thought that one camp commander wanted to revive the prisoners to human feelings so that they would suffer more when they were killed might describe the attitude of one of the camp commanders. The role of the violin player was harder ...more
Robbie Forkish
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Eugene Drucker is not an author; he's a violinist for the Emerson Quartet. His father was also a violinist in Germany in the 1930s. This short book, while not literature, powerfully conveys disturbing events from the Nazi regime in the 30s and from concentration camps during the war. Although the theme of playing for concentration camp prisoners has been done before, I found this to be more of a punch in the gut than others. The musical descriptions are effective without being florid. All in ...more
This is, in my opinion, a rather atypical World War II novel. It has some of the standards schticks- sadistic Nazi guards are the first to spring to mind- but as the novel progresses, it becomes clear this isn't your run of the mill, good-guy-defeats-bad-guy work. Because Keller is a bad guy. The may not know it, but he is.

I also loved the description of the violin and the music (though I must say, playing on the strings on the cover wouldn't make a nice sound).
Tim Zimmer
The whole book was hard to take. Toward the end I thought that maybe it was all a nightmare from which Gottfried would awaken in the end. But no, it was a reality downer from beginning to end. There probably were actual sadists like the Kommandant of the camp in the Nazi war machine, but I had trouble accepting him as a real human being. I'm more inclined toward the idea of the banality of evil even among the worst of the worst of their kind.
Julie Cohen
Aug 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
A reasonably quick read, this book is another in a long line of concentration camp narratives, but from the perspective of an ordinary German outsider, brought in to play violin to a select group of prisoners. The scenes where he is playing are well written, but possibly a little dry to a non-musician. Not the best book I've read, but having recently read a satirical novel about Hitler, this one certainly kicked me in the guts with a reminder of the horror actually inflicted.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Druker writes passionately about music and intertwines it with twisted emotions of the Germans under Hitler who disagreed with him, and yet did what they had to survive. This book has gotten me thinking quite a bit. As a musician myself, I connect with what the protagonist has to say about music.
Just as a warning, it gets pretty graphic -- I can't say I did a close reading all the way.
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, owned
I was surprised with Drucker's ability to maintain a riveting narrative that flowed in and out of, what for many, could be pedantic meditations on the playing of strings. However, I personally loved the mixture, a perfect balance, much like Drucker's playing I and believe he has found a niche that I look forward to him expanding on.
Lauren Faber
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it
A Catholic violinist must play for wounded German soldiers in WWII Berlin. However, the SS called on him to play for Jewish concentration camp prisoners as part of an "experiment." This book was good, but I would not call it a must read. I think it was too short, which prevented the author, Eugene Drucker, from really developing the main character fully.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Savior by Eugene Drucker is a powerful story about a depressed, demoralized violinist in Nazi Germany who is dragged into an "experiment" concocted by the Commandant of a concentration camp. His charge is to bring what I would call the walking dead back to life with music. Gorgeous writing. Recommended.

May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Savior is a jewel of a book.
It's beautiful, lyrical, and most certainly painful.

It explorers the horrors of the Jewish concentration camps during the period of WWII, the inhumane tortures, and the almost healing power of music.

This story is right on par with "The Black Violin" by Maxence Fermine. Give it a try.
Sandi Van
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
A young German violinist is forced to play concerts for a group of Jews at a concentration camp who have been selected for an experiment in restoring hope. Written by a musician, The Savior is very lyrical in its prose, but the flashbacks to pre-WWII slowed down the story and did not help create sympathy for the main character. A sad read.
Eugene Lee
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Classical music lovers will be able to connect more deeply with this story of a professional violinist forced to perform at a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I was moved. Also of note is the author is a violinist in the Emerson String Quartet - impressive first novel.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, world-war-2
Pretty easy read, and mostly enjoyable. I felt some of the characters were a bit trite, but it is a different story on the Holocaust than normally found. I wouldn't give a recommendation either will probably like it If you read it, but not missing anything special if you don't.
Donna Fabris
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book effectively views the holocaust from the point of view of a German citizen, showing his growing awareness of the horror and his own involvement in that horror. It also examines the effect of music on the human soul.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brand new perspective of World War II and concentration camps specifically as viewed by an artist stuck in the middle of a very dark time in history. There is no other possible way to describe this book except that it is written well and you must read it.
Dec 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: yes
A story within the concentration camps. I read these for more information and to see the reality of what it was like for the thousands of people who endured such sorrow
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Beautifully conceived and gracefully written, The Savior is a complex and illuminating character study of a man severed from his past expectations and an artist struggling with his identity in the face of human catastrophe. "
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