A Play for the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book affected me profoundly. It's beautifully rendered historical fiction that begins in World War II and then jumps to the 1970s. It addresses some of the core themes found in fiction of that post war period—the role of art and love in survival.
In Jai Chakrabarti’s debut novel, a play by Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore is a magical and malleable symbol, used to help children accept a dark reality and as a tool for resistance. By staging the play during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Jaryk and his fellow orphans experienced a kind of liberation by imagination. But while the other children’s relief was temporary, Jaryk had the life-altering fortune and burden of becoming the orphanage’s lone survivor. Unlike his fellow orphans, unlike almost everyone else he had known in the meager years he enjoyed before the war, Jaryk got a chance at a long life.
A Play for the End of the World primarily focuses on what happens next, how new life takes root after extreme ruin. Highly recommend.
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