The New York Times-bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light returns with a new powerful and passionate novel—inspired by historical events—about two women, one European and one American, and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives.
In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him.
In America in 2010, Henry’s niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family’s history—and also offer her an opportunity to finally make peace with the past.
In Berlin, Germany, in 1783, amid the city’s glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely despite simmering anti-Semitism, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the manuscript of an anti-Jewish cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach’s son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come.
Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined. Lauren Belfer’s deeply researched, evocative, and compelling narrative resonates with emotion and immediacy.
Lauren Belfer’s novel A Fierce Radiance was named a Washington Post Best Novel; an NPR Best Mystery; and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller as well as a number one Book Sense pick; a New York Times Notable Book; a Library Journal Best Book; and a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. She lives in New York City.
What he experienced that day wasn’t life-changing . . . It was life-making.
Tomura is startled by the hypnotic sound of a piano being tuned in his school. It seeps into his soul and transports him to the forests, dark and gleaming, that surround his beloved mountain village. From that moment, he is determined to discover more.
Under the tutelage of three master piano-tuners – one humble, one jovial, one ill-tempered – Tomura embarks on his training, never straying too far from a single, unfathomable question: do I have what it takes?
Set in small-town Japan, this warm and mystical story is for the lucky few who have found their calling – and for the rest of us who are still searching. It shows that the road to finding one’s purpose is a winding path, often filled with treacherous doubts and, for those who persevere, astonishing moments of revelation.
Mega-bestselling winner of the Japan Booksellers Award, selected by bookshop staff as the book they most wanted to hand-sell: A tender and uplifting novel for fans of A WHOLE LIFE by Robert Seethaler.
[Contains 5 exquisite hand-drawn illustrations]
British-occupied Palestine, 1946: Elderly writer Elias Lind isn’t convinced by reports that his scientist brother, Raphael, died in a concentration camp. Too frail to search for Raphael himself, Elias persuades a contact in the Jewish resistance to send someone in his place.
Lilya joined the resistance movement to help form a new state, not to waste her time on a fruitless chase across a war-ravaged continent at the request of a frail, most likely delusional, old man. As her comrades make their final preparations for a major operation, a bitter Lilya must accept her orders and embark on her journey to Europe. She is traveling as a member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, one of the largest aid organizations for Jewish survivors—many of whom survived the Nazis only to find themselves with no family or home to return to. If Raphael is alive, odds are she will find him among the refugees trapped in displaced persons camps and prevented from immigrating to Palestine by the British.
Lilya’s search leads her from the hushed corridors of London’s Whitehall, home to the British Secret Intelligence Service, to the haunted, rubble-strewn strasses of Munich and Berlin. Visiting Föhrenwald, an overcrowded and underfunded DP camp, she makes a breakthrough. But Lilya isn’t the only person pursuing the missing man. Someone has been mirroring her every move—a dangerous adversary who will go to drastic lengths to find Raphael first.
“Enthralling. A Fierce Radiance shines with fascinating detail.... Belfer’s powerful portrayal of how people are changed in pursuit of a miracle makes this book an especially compelling read.” — Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
Set during the uncertain early days of World War II, this suspenseful story from the New York Times bestselling author of City of Light follows the work of photojournalist Claire Shipley as she captures America’s race to develop life-saving antibiotics—an assignment that will involve blackmail, espionage, and murder.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.