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The Kommandant's Mistress: A Novel
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The Kommandant's Mistress: A Novel

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  477 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Portrays the relationship between the Kommandant of a Nazi concentration camp and the Jewish woman inmate he makes his mistress. The story is told in three parts - his side, her side and an objective view presented through official documents.
Hardcover, 1st, 275 pages
Published July 14th 1993 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published July 1st 1993)
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Will Byrnes
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexandria Constantinova Szeman - from her Facebook pages

The Kommandant’s mistress is a beautiful, award-winning novel, telling of a Nazi death camp Kommandant who takes a Jewish mistress. The first half is told from his perspective; the second is told from hers, followed by a supposedly objective view. We are shown how each of the characters arrived at the camp situation, their reactions to the situation, how they cope, and justify. Good stuff.

Links to the author’s Twitter and FB pages
When Band of Brothers first ran on HBO, one viewer expressed outrage that American troops were seen taking items from German houses. It reminded me of someone who said that all those guards who worked with the Sheriff of Nottingham deserved getting killed. Who cares if they had to eat, they shouldn’t have been working for the guy in the first place.
As humans we like out morality to be clear. We like strict right and wrong . Yet, we know that very few things are so clear cut. A woman is a slut i
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My grade: A. This is a compelling book I know I will think about for days. The first half of the book is told from the Kommandant's POV, in 1st person. The second half in Rachel's POV, in 1st person. It mostly takes place during the final months of WWII in a concentration camp. To borrow the words of a reviewer, it reads like a psychic collage, running forwards and backwards in time. Even mid-sentence we jump around. At first disruptive and confusing, I quickly found myself seamlessly following ...more
Travelling Sunny
Winner of the strangest writing style ever award. Powerful writing that deserves a higher rating, but was just too confusing at the end for me to thoroughly enjoy. Part I: POV of the Kommandant. Part II: POV of the Jewish girl / prisoner. Part III: Historical (fictional) account of the "official" story for each of them.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and the author - Alexandria Constantinova Szeman (not Sherri Szeman as on the original cover art) - was kind enough to
DNF Book is all over the place. It's not for me
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish that GoodReads had a more detailed rating system. I often find it hard to choose between 4 and 5 stars or 3 and 4.

Anyway, my Kindle recommended this book to me and I saw that I could borrow it on Prime so I went for it. When I started to read, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a true story - not that I would wish these things on anyone, but I have a hard time with Holocaust fiction, I've always felt like it "cheapens" the real thing. I don't know why. But in the end, I was able to r
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
A complex and sometimes hard to understand story of a German Kommandant of a concentration camp and the Jewish prisoner he chooses to be his mistress. Written in an unusual style, it goes between people by the use of one word in a previous statement. Once you understand how it is written you are more able to understand what is going on.
Written in three sections, The Kommandant, the Girl and the History of both, it is a heart wrenching story of a Jewish girl in the concentration camp who is chose
OK, I give up. This is the third time I have tried to read The Kommandant's Mistress and the third time I couldn't get through to the end. Nothing to do with the artistic merits of the book, which are considerable. Szeman uses her training as a poet (widely published, won lots of award) to inform the structure of her prose. She takes one word toward the end of each brief passage and using it to start a new passage, moving from past to present to distant past, from the concentration camp to the W ...more
John Dolan
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many books have been written about the Holocaust and there is a danger that at some point desensitisation sets in. But not with this work.

The structure of the novel is unconventional and the narrative flows back and forward over time without any break in the stream of consciousness of the two central characters.

The writing has a `European' feel to it, and stylistically the book read to me like a concatenation of Sartre's 'Roads to Freedom' and Camus' 'The Fall'.

Human, Frighteningly Human

At the h
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book confused me. I wanted to see how this writer managed to deal with this kind of relationship. Well, mainly she didn't. The book is told in two perspectives. The first half is the Kommandant's told in flashback after the war (he's on the run as a war criminal) and the second half is the mistress's, also told in flashback after the war. The two halves are so distinctly different that it's almost like they're remembering totally separate events. Also, and interestingly enough, I felt the a ...more
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Award-winning, critically acclaimed author of New York Times Book Review's Notable Book and Kafka Award Winner for "The Outstanding Book of Prose Fiction by an American Woman," The Kommandant's Mistress ( Szeman's True Crime Memoir, M is for Munchers: The Serial Killers Next Door ( empowers abuse victims.

Other books include Onl
More about Alexandria Constantinova Szeman...
“Words make more revolutions than swords. Words cut deeper than knives. Words cut more cleanly, and leave the victim alive.” 0 likes
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