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Mischling

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  10,240 Ratings  ·  1,596 Reviews
Pearl is in charge of: the sad, the good, the past.

Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.

It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

As p
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Hardcover, 344 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Lee Boudreaux Books
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Chloe Super-tired of reading WW2 books. Do you mean the Eastern Front, the Maqui, the Blitzkrieg or more specifically The Final Solution? If it's the former…moreSuper-tired of reading WW2 books. Do you mean the Eastern Front, the Maqui, the Blitzkrieg or more specifically The Final Solution? If it's the former - that's one thing. Not everyone is a military buff. But if it's the latter; I have two solutions (sorry). Stop reading that unpleasant subject or consider how you divide your definition "about the war". in compartments The Holocaust was very much about the war. Jessica, your comment is terrible. Unless you are being forced at gunpoint to read anything - don't. If the suffering and facts of 11 million murdered people is tiring. See a mental health provider. The book IS the characters who represent a very factual part of the war and what was done to humans by other humans. My advice would be if you think medical experiements on twins - in this case Jewish will bore oyu. Don't read it.(less)

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Emily May
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
"For eight months we were afloat in amniotic snowfall, two rosy mittens resting on the lining of our mother. I couldn’t imagine anything grander than the womb we shared, but after the scaffolds of our brains were ivoried and our spleens were complete, Pearl wanted to see the world beyond us. And so, with newborn pluck, she spat herself out of our mother."

A bit too arty and lacking in plot for my tastes.

I was immediately intrigued when I saw Mischling on Netgalley. Despite having read so many H
...more
Will Byrnes
We don’t always know ourselves, who we can become, what we may do, after evil has done what it likes with us.
Coming of age is tough enough, but toss in a World War, a forced relocation to one of the most infamous vortices of evil the world has ever known, and, for good measure, add in being in the hands of one of the most truly black-souled human beings to have ever fouled the surface of the earth. But perhaps the light we cannot see is the one that illuminates the soul.

We meet Stasha and Pe
...more
Diane
Apr 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

I was so irritated with this book I debated whether to even write this review. I haven't hated a novel this much since The Book Thief, except I think Mischling is the greater offender.*

I shall try to explain why I am so upset. In recent years I've noticed an increasing number of fictional accounts of the Holocaust. While there are innumerable books written about World War II, the novels that focus on the horrors of the concentration camps seem to go one of two route
...more
Elyse
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shared with another Goodreads member this morning - minutes - after having finished reading "Mischling", ....while still in bed...that tears were rolling down my face.
I was shaken....really shaken. I tried to fall back to sleep and change my thoughts back to visuals of Alaska....( having now read both of Eowyn Ivey's books)...but instead I reached over to Paul -snuggled his 'soon-to-wake-for-work-sleeping-body'.....and quietly cried holding onto him.

I asked for this pain. I pre-paid for this
...more
Miriam Smith
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readers-first
I was quite wary about starting "Mischling" having heard how powerful and harrowing it was from fellow readers. What went on during the holocaust was without doubt inhumane, brutal and incomprehensible, however this book almost had a YA feel to it, so it tended to hold back just enough on the vivid brutalities.

I loved the start to the story, beginning with the identical twins still in the womb and the thoughts of what Stasha was feeling as she and her twin Pearl were about to leave the safety of
...more
Dianne
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2017
Oh. my...............just SO beautifully written. This book is based on Dr. Josef Mengele's "Zoo" experiments at Auschwitz, in which he tortured and experimented on twins, dwarves, albinos and any other victims that struck his fancy as unusual or "special." The subject matter is undeniably grim, but Konar gets her point across without being too graphic.

The strongest part of the book, for me, was the first part, which tells the story of 12-year-old twins Pearl and Stasha. We come to know Auschwit
...more
Kelli
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mischling, you break my heart. With gorgeous prose, you pulled me into what I expected to be my best read of the year. You introduced me to the heinous Josef Mengele and his atrocities in a way that focused heavily on his duplicity, while keeping the darkest, most graphic details of his unimaginably sadistic and unconscionable experiments largely out of the story. I saw this as a gift. Enough was shared to make it clear: this man was soulless. Duality and division were themes carried throughout ...more
LeAnne
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This sobering story of identical twin sisters interred at Auschwitz and subjected to Mengele's horrific experiments is somewhat a tough read. The reader is spared most of the nitty gritty details of his psychotic operations and vivisections, along with hints of the extremely high rate of executions. We know that things went on but they are not described in detail or shown to us directly. Because the reader is shielded from gruesome details, this would be an excellent book for grades 6 and up. Th ...more
Jill
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mischling – the term was used during the Third Reich to characterize those who bore both Aryan and Jewish blood – is not for the faint of heart. It is nightmarish and shattering. It is also – dare I use the term? – uplifting. It resists limpid sentimentality and the contortion of history and pays witness to the darkest of times from an entirely new perspective. In short, I found the book to be astounding.

Inspired by the non-fictional book Children of the Flame, Affinity Konar focuses on a partic
...more
Liz
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is such a hard book to review. It's beautifully written but the subject matter is so horrific. Stasha and Pearl are twins that are part of Dr. Mengele’s experimentation at Auschwitz. While Konar tries to limit how graphically she describes some of these experiments, there is no escaping the gruesomeness.

The author explores all sorts of different themes - family, faith, forgiveness and revenge. The characters are fully realized. In addition to the twins, Miri, a Jewish doctor forced to help
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley
2.5★
This is where I need to work out some complicated thoughts. The author is a talented writer but this was not for me. I wonder how I'll feel about it in the weeks to come.

They lived in Uncle Mengele’s Zoo and played games out in the yard called bury the dead. They believed that their cooperation insured good treatment and extra favors for their loved ones. They were twins or multiples, children of the holocaust, and victims of the cruelest and most inhumane medical experimentation ever concei
...more
Roger Brunyate
A Question of Tone

After two quite different attempts to review this unusual Holocaust novel by Affinity Konar, I am finally giving up, with an admission that I probably missed the author's point. The ostensible narrators are two Jewish girls, identical twins who, because their blonde hair made them look almost Aryan (Mischling means of mixed blood), attracted the eye of the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, making in them simultaneously his pets and the subjects of his most inhumane expe
...more
Suzanne Leopold
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Signed copy giveaway on my blog until 1/27 https://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved

One of the 100 Notable books of 2016 by the New York Times
Sue
As I actually completed this book shortly before midnight, it is my final book of 2016, and while a difficult read, it is also very well done. In spite of all the nonfiction I have read about the Holocaust and the horrors of the death camps, Mischling has opened my eyes and mind further.

Mischling is an historic fiction written about one specific aspect of the Holocaust that I have heard about but never read many details of over the years. Konar brings to life, through the eyes, ears and bodies o
...more
abby
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it
"Stasha would take the funny, the future, the bad. I would take the sad, the past, the good."

Identical twins Pearl and Stasha arrived at Auschwitz as two halves of one whole. Pearl, the eldest, was sweet and musical, Stasha fearless and imaginative. Fresh off the transport train, the pair catch the eye of the notorious "doctor" Josef Mengele, who favors twins as subjects for his gruesome medical and genetic experiments. At Auschwitz, being a double can be a good thing. It can keep you alive for
...more
Bill
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing

5.0 STARS! By far one of very best books I read in 2016

This is one of those rare books that reached my soul. It broke down my DNA and reassembled my genetic code into something completely different from when I started the book. It ripped my heart from my chest, tossed it about in an ethereal world of emotions, flooded with compassion, empathy and utter sadness and despair and finally forgiveness, and placed it back within my symmetrical anatomy with a loving, gentle caress. It drained my tears u
...more
Suzanne
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Affinity Konar is like Anthony Doerr in that she can find lyrical poetry in nightmarish, unfathomable scenarios that aren't necessarily easy to read, but should be read in order to remember and honor the painful lessons of our history.

Mischling deals with identical twins Pearl and Stasha, who arrive at Auschwitz with the strongest of bonds between them. Pearl is the older of the two, the musical one, the dancer, and Stasha is the dreamer who seeks solace and distraction in her imagination. The
...more
Camie
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not just another Holocaust story. The story of the twins of Auschwitz has largely been untold, because it is so horrifically evil and heart rending and yet it is a part of history that deserves our attention. Stasha and Pearl are 12 year old twin sisters who will need to call upon their powerful and almost magical bond to survive, when they catch the eye of the infamous Josef Mengele the "Angel of Death" who preserves the lives of " doubles" in the death camp only to use them as subjects in his ...more
Snotchocheez
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars

I fully expected Mischling to be a literary disaster, but I was very pleasantly surprised in the manner Affinity Konar was able to weave real-life Holocaust atrocities (and in the case of "Angel of Death" Josef Mengele, weave in real-life monsters who perpetrated them), adding in just a pinch of "Magical Realism" (davening pigeons? anthropomorphized bears and jackals hell-bent on retribution? sure, why not?) and come up with a heartbreaking read that transcends its hideous subject matter
...more
Joachim Stoop
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a privilege I felt being able to read this before the hype will break loose!
This was one of the most talked about books of the Frankfurther Book Fair '15. My guess is you will almost get tired of seeing it appear in short lists, best of 2016-lists and obnoxious recommendations just as this one (so you can say it'll be this year's A little life ;-)

Ok: it's miserable... Reading from the POV of twins being captured in Auschwitz, on a daily basis undergoing the horrific experiments by Mengele,
...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I am so conflicted, need to think on this one.
Jen
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
**I received this as an egalley through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**

I have read many Holocaust books in my life and thought that this one sounded exceptionally interesting, which is why I requested it. The story of the twins and others who were subjected to Mengele's experiments is not one I have read before in historical fiction, and was thus eager to read it. However, while the writing could be interesting at times, for the most part I found myself disengaged from the story and
...more
Liz
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book will be with me for a long, long time. A melancholy timbre, wonderfully visual language, and two utterly remarkable girls at its center - this one hurt my heart. I can’t do more than simply describe how it made me feel and give some examples of the writing that I so enjoyed.

Mischling is the account of twelve year old twin girls Pearl and Stasha as they describe their time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during WWII. I don’t want to delve into the cruelty that was inflicted
...more
Tania
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
My forgiveness was a constant repetition, and acknowledgement of the fact that I still lived; it was proof that their experiments, their number, their samples, was all for naught - I remained, a tribute to their underestimations of what a girl can endure.

4.5 stars. A beautifully written, well-researched book about twins, Pearl and Stasha, who ends up in the Zoo at Auschwitz. A place where death-doctor, Josef Mengele, kept and performed experiments on all his especially selected children. The aut
...more
jo
I find that it is quite difficult to talk about tragedies through the eyes of children without becoming twee. Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See and Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are paramount examples of this twee. Foer pulls it off, Doerr not so much. So I was a bit nervous in picking up this book, which deals with the particular part of Auschwitz called "The Zoo;" in this area internees that were identical twins or had other genetic anomalies would be gat ...more
João Carlos
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2016

Crianças sobreviventes ao Zoo de Josef Mengele - Auschwitz (Janeiro de 1945)

NOTA: Quem pretender ler ”A Outra Metade de Mim” não deve "ler" a sinopse na contracapa da edição portuguesa.

"(...) tínhamos de aprender a amar o mundo outra vez." (Pág. 320)

”A Outra Metade de Mim” é um romance de ficção da escritora norte-americana Affinity Konar com a narrativa a iniciar-se no campo de concentração de Auschwitz em 1994. Satsha e Pearl Zamorski com doze anos de idade, são duas gémeas judias polacas l
...more
AdiTurbo
Sep 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
DNF. Don't read this book. It is part of the growing trend of exploiting Holocaust materials in order to create a sensation and sell more books. As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors I was very upset by it, as I was by other fictional novels about the Holocaust. Historical fiction concerning the Holocaust is very rarely done well, and the only good ones I've read were written by people with strong personal connections to the events. The writing in this novel felt so contrived, so full of e ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
I had the opportunity to hear the author, Affinity Konar, speak at the Tucson Festival of Books earlier this year and was taken by her soft-spoken manner and her entire affect. I could almost ‘feel’ the pain she experienced in writing this phenomenal book (which had been waiting patiently on my Kindle for months prior to the festival).

From the first page, the language of this novel is transcending and ethereal despite the horrific facts the story is based on and the difficult themes and realitie
...more
Lonna | FLYLēF
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
FLYLēF Reviews

Original Post: Mischling at FLYLēF (www.flylef.com)
Mischling /misch•ling/: Hybrid; half-breed. Used by the Third Reich to denote a person of mixed blood.

NOW THAT MY formal education is behind me, I like to continue learning through my love of reading. Despite a work of fiction, Mischling, by Affinity Konar, is a study into the most atrocious crimes of our history. Powerful in nature and deeply researched in scope, it tells of the forgotten story of the twins of Auschwitz during the time of t
...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Twist on a WWII theme. This book spoke to the Holocaust in 1944 and the imprisoning of twins, triplets and children with unusual defects into the pet project of Josef Mengele - Mengeles Zoo at Auschwitz. It focuses on one set of twins, Pearl and Sasha. How they survived, their friends, the differing experiments they were subjected to, the medical staff in Auschwitz, their eventual liberation and the events that followed.
The story was told in alternating chapters by Pearl and Sasha. You know goi
...more
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Holocaust fiction 2 33 Aug 29, 2017 12:02PM  
Play Book Tag: Mischling - Affinity Konar - 5 stars 14 26 Jun 13, 2017 10:58AM  
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Affinity Konar was raised in California. While writing MISCHLING, she worked as a tutor, proofreader, technical writer, and editor of children's educational workbooks. She studied fiction at SFSU and Columbia. She is of Polish-Jewish descent, and currently lives in Los Angeles.

She dearly misses writing about Pearl and Stasha, and is grateful to any reader who might find the company of the twins.
More about Affinity Konar

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“Because you had no power over the fact that I was born, you took from me what I was born with—the person who was my love, the half that made me entire—and now I am lessened into this dull thing, a divided person who will live forever, wandering in search of some nothing, some nowhere, some no-feeling, to mend my pain.” 7 likes
“Work would never set us free, despite what they'd promised. But beauty? Yes, I thought, beauty might see us past the gates.” 5 likes
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