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The Resource A thread of grace : a novel, Mary Doria Russell

A thread of grace : a novel, Mary Doria Russell

Label
A thread of grace : a novel
Title
A thread of grace
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Mary Doria Russell
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Italian citizens saved more than 43,000 Jews during the last 20 months of World War II. Russell has transmuted this little-known history into an expansive, well-researched, and compelling novel. As the story opens, the mountainous region of northwest Italy has been relatively untouched by WWII, and even Jews have been safe. When Italy breaks with Germany in 1943 and pulls out of southern France, thousands of Jewish refugees cross the mountains in search of safety. But the German occupation of Italy poses a new threat. Even with the list that’s provided, it can be hard to keep track of all the characters--Catholics and Jews, priests and rabbis, Germans and Italians, old and young, Nazis and Resistance fighters. But Russell is good at presenting the human story while never using the war merely as a backdrop for personal dramas. In fact, to mirror the arbitrary nature of survival during wartime, she has said that she flipped a coin to determine who among her characters would live and who would die. -- Mary Ellen Quinn (BookList, 12-15-2004, p709)
  • /* Starred Review */ Busy, noisy and heartfelt, this sprawling novel by Russell—a striking departure from her previous two acclaimed SF thrillers, The Sparrow and Children of God— chronicles the Italian resistance to the Germans during the last two years of WWII. Three cultures mingle uneasily in Porto Sant'Andrea on the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy—the Italian Jews of the village, headed by the chief rabbi Iacopo Soncini; the Italian Catholics, like Sant'Andrea's priest Don Osvaldo Tomitz, who befriend and shelter the Jews; and the occupying Germans invited by Mussolini's crumbling regime. In the last camp is the drunken, tubercular Nazi deserter, Doktor Schramm, a broken man who confesses to Don Osvaldo that while working in state hospitals and Auschwitz, he was responsible for murdering 91,867 people. Meanwhile, Jewish refugees in southern France, including Albert Blum and his teenage daughter, Claudette, are fleeing across the Alps to Italy, hoping to find sanctuary there. Russell pursues numerous narrative threads, including the Blums' perilous flight over the mountains; Italian Jew Renzo Leoni's personal coming to terms with his participation in the Dolo hospital bombing during the Abyssinian campaign in 1935; the dangerous frenzy of the Italian partisans; and the bloody-mindedness of German officers resolved to carry out Hitler's murderous racial policy despite mounting evidence of its futility. The action moves swiftly, with impressive authority, jostling dialogue, vibrant personalities and meticulous, unexpected historical detail. The intensity and intimacy of Russell's storytelling, her sharp character writing and fierce sense of humor bring fresh immediacy to this riveting WWII saga. Agent, Jane Dystel. (Feb. 1) Forecast: This is a worthy successor to high-caliber, crowd-pleasing WWII novels like Corelli's Mandolin or The English Patient. With the publisher firmly behind it—Russell will embark on a 12-city author tour—expect substantial sales. --Staff (Reviewed November 29, 2004) (Publishers Weekly, vol 251, issue 48, p21)
  • In her two highly acclaimed novels, The Sparrow and Children of God , Russell cast her characters in futuristic settings where they debated the nature of sin and grace. Russell's latest effort looks back to September 1943, when Italy had broken its alliance with Germany and joined in a separate peace with the Allies. Albert Blum and 14-year-old daughter Claudette, Jewish refugees in southern France, must leave that region (which Italy had occupied) and cross the Alps to Italy to flee German persecution. While they encounter all the typical dangers of such a journey, they are not much inspired by their arrival in Italy, where pockets of Nazis continue to persecute Jews. A "thread of grace" runs through this disorder, however, in the forms of Italian Catholic resisters, an Italian rabbi, and a disaffected German doctor who provide safe harbor for the Blum family and other Jews. The surfeit of characters devolves into one-dimensional portraits of individuals for whom we can hardly muster any sympathy or identification; despite Russell's consummate storytelling ability, the multitudinous plot lines diverge rather than converge. Even so, fans of her previous novels will devour this book, and most libraries will want a copy. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/04.]—Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA --Henry L. Carrigan Jr. (Reviewed February 15, 2005) (Library Journal, vol 130, issue 3, p113)
  • /* Starred Review */ Stateless Jews find refuge in the valleys of northwest Italy, thanks to the humanity of supposedly thick-witted peasants: a rich, rewarding, and well-researched tale of WWII.Piedmont, the province north of Genoa, in the lee of the Maritime Alps, is now largely off the American tourist map. But in 1943, when the Italian Fascists surrendered to the advancing allies, Piedmont was desperately attractive to the thousands of Jewish refugees who were forced to flee the Germans marching into the political vacuum in Mussolini's former European territories. Brutal as the Italian fascists were, they had been notoriously slow to turn over their Jews to Germans, and the Piemontesi had a reputation for sanctuary. In his third outing, science-fiction author Russell (Children of God, 1998, etc.) weaves oral and written histories and a large cast into a fast moving story that switches back and forth between the scarcely populated agricultural valleys at the edge of the Alps and fictitious Porto Sant'Andrea, an unexceptional industrial city somewhere on the Ligurian coast. An odd coalition of native Italian Jews, Roman Catholic clergy, communists, and unaffiliated anti-Fascists, have united in a conspiracy to protect the stream of refugees coming on foot through the mountain passes from France at the very moment that the Nazis are turning against their former Italian hosts. The masterminds of the Italo-Jewish effort are Lidia Leoni, an aristocratic and supremely sophisticated communist and her boozy, brilliant, protean son Renzo, a much-decorated flier haunted by his role in Italy's Ethiopian adventure. Knowing the efficiency and ruthlessness of the Germans who now hold power in Porto Sant' Andrea, the Leonis steer money and refugees to the tiny hamlets in Valdottavo, where peasants have already begun to harbor Transalpine guests. The one "good" German in Russell's adventure is Werner Schramm, a doctor in flight from his past as an obedient euthanizer and witness to the death camps who is now witness to the humanity of the Jews and the charity of the mountain peasants.Beautiful, noble, fascinating, and almost unbearably sad. (Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
130880
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1950-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Russell, Mary Doria
Illustrations
maps
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Holocaust survivors
  • Jews
Label
A thread of grace : a novel, Mary Doria Russell
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
497674
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xii, 430 pages
Isbn
9780375501845
Isbn Type
(acid-free paper)
Lccn
2004050942
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375501845
  • (Sirsi) ADP-9007
Label
A thread of grace : a novel, Mary Doria Russell
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
497674
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xii, 430 pages
Isbn
9780375501845
Isbn Type
(acid-free paper)
Lccn
2004050942
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375501845
  • (Sirsi) ADP-9007

Library Locations

    • Milwood BranchBorrow it
      12500 Amherst Dr, Austin, TX, 78727, US
      30.4223444 -97.7161692
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