Author: Jean-Claude Grumberg
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Book Description: Set during the height of World War II, a powerful and unsettling tale about a woodcutter and his wife, who finds a mysterious parcel thrown from a passing train.
Once upon a time in an enormous forest lived a woodcutter and his wife. The woodcutter is very poor and a war rages around them, making it difficult for them to put food on the table. Yet every night, his wife prays for a child.
A Jewish father rides on a train holding twin babies. His wife no longer has enough milk to feed both children. In hopes of saving them both, he wraps his daughter in a shawl and throws her into the forest.
While foraging for food, the wife finds a bundle, a baby girl wrapped in a shawl. Although she knows harboring this baby could lead to her death, she takes the child home.
Set against the horrors of the Holocaust and told with a fairytale-like lyricism, The Most Precious of Cargoes is a fable about family and redemption which reminds us that humanity can be found in the most inhumane of places.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Review: What an unsuspecting gem of a book. This will be a very short review as it is a very tiny book at under 100 pages, and I also think this is best to experience this with fresh eyes.
Written as a fairy-tale, this takes place during World War II. A Jewish family has to make a tough choice, with their twins. If they keep them both, they will both die, if they leave one behind, they have a fighting chance to save at least one. The twin girl is found by the wood-cutter’s wife and she feels she has been given a gift from god. That is where I will leave you to finish this tale.
This is a gorgeous story, that left me in the end with my jaw dropped. What the author packs into this little book is so powerful, heartbreaking and beautiful. This won’t take more than hour of your time, but we will be all the better for reading this.
Thank you NetGalley and HarperVia for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.