ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather Morris is a New Zealand-born author.
In 1971, Morris moved to Melbourne, where she met her future husband. In 1986, she decided to study further. She completed her BA in 1991 with a major in Political Science.
From 1995 to 2017, Morris worked in the Social Work Department at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne. At the same, she enrolled in The Professional Scriptwriting Course to pursue her lifelong passion for storytelling.
While working at Monash Medical Centre, Heather met Lale Sokolov. Their discussion about his time in the Auschwitz concentration camp led Heather to write a bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
SYNOPSIS (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
In 1942, Lale volunteered to work for the German Government, as demanded by the Nazis, to protect his family from persecution. However, he was sent to the concentration camp in Auschwitz anyway for being a Jew. Lale was just twenty-four at the time.
A few weeks later, he was taken in as an assistant by one of the camp tattooists. While initially reluctant, Lale eventually took up the job. One day, while he was tattooing the new inmates at Auschwitz, he met the love of his life, Gita.
He would soon became the chief tattooist in the camp. This position came with some privileges. Lale used these privileges to win his ladylove and help the other inmates as much as possible.
Morris has given a detailed account of how Lale was able to set up an entire network of food and other emergency supplies inside the camp to support his friends.
The story covers all the events leading up to the inmates’ release from the camp, after which the lovers eventually reunite.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a book on the Holocaust, but without the horrors that one might expect of it. It is rather a book of hope, love, and survival.
Heather Morris has retold the story of Lale and Gita, who, despite all odds, dared to love. Lale’s optimistic outlook on life is contagious. His resourcefulness and zeal to help the people around him are inspiring.
Morris’ recreation of Gita and Lale’s secret rendezvous has a sweet romantic touch to it. Such is the magic of Morris’ description that the readers momentarily forget that they are actually reading about the people stuck inside one of the notorious Nazi concentration camps.
As one would expect, Morris has taken certain creative liberties to maintain the flow of the story. She has masterfully recreated the story of Lale and Gita’s romance based on the inputs she received from Lale.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ
Unfortunately, the biggest strength of The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also its biggest drawback – it is a love story. The book focuses too much on the affair between Lale and Gita, disregarding the human connection among the other characters. As a result, the story often comes across as a work of a fiction than something that may have happened for real. Despite being a first-hand account of a Holocaust survivor, the story appears fictionalized, perhaps far too fictionalized for the readers’ liking.
His semi-delirious state makes them seem like beacons, sparkling, dancing in the rain, showing him the way home. Calling, Come to me. I will provide shelter, warmth, and nourishment. Keep walking. But as he walks through gates, this time bearing no message, offering no deal, no promise of freedom in exchange for toil, Lale realizes the sparkling mirage has gone. He’s in another prison.
She said, ‘As long as we are alive and healthy, everything will work out for the best.’
On balance, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a worthwhile read for people who have a thing for historical fiction. The story is rather straightforward, depicting the triumph of love over all adversities.
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