“A moving act of absolution.... This strong novel about a girl who is debased but never destroyed pushes the reader to a new level of understanding of the things people do—and the things that are done to them.” —Washington Post Book World
She has hair of ginger and lovely green eyes, and she has just been transported with her family from Terezín to Auschwitz. In short order, her father commits suicide, and her mother and younger brother are dispatched to the gas chambers, but fifteen-year-old Hanka Kauderzová is still alive. Faced with the choice of certain death in the camp or working in a German military brothel, she chooses a chance at life. Passing for an Aryan, Hanka spends her days in the brothel cold, hungry, fearful, and ashamed. She is sustained only by her loathing of the men who visit her and by a fierce, indomitable will to live.
This devastatingly beautiful novel explores and delineates the impossible choices one sometimes has to make in life, when the fabric of the world is rent asunder. Soaring beyond the nightmare, it leaves the reader with a transcendent sense of hope.