THE WISH CHILD by Catherine Chidgey

Such delicate, precise writing, words put together perfectly creating this difficult to read, sad, and touching story. It is only in recent years that we are getting a window on what life was like for the ordinary person in Germany during WWII. Although not oppressed and decimated as much as those in countries taken over by the Nazis, it would seem the average person's existence was as oppressive as those in neighbouring countries. In this novel, through the eyes of two children and a mysterious narrator the reader gets glimpses of how life in wartime Germany was no picnic.

The children are Siggy who lives in Berlin with her parents and younger brothers. Her father finds himself working in a censorship office cutting words out of books that are deemed unacceptable, emotional. He works in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, the family aware that every word spoken can be heard and used against them. Siggy goes to school where the indoctrination continues. Erich is a little boy who lives in the country side near Leipzig with his pro Nazi parents. The Nazi regime did his parents a great service some years prior, the truth of which comes out as the story progresses. Eventually the war comes to both Berlin and Leipzig, bringing the two children together, who then have to endure the horrors of being the conquered people.

The Wish Child is the narrator of the story; we don't find out who the narrator actually is until near the end. The narrator reminded me very much of Death who was the narrator in another amazing novel set in Germany during the war - 'The Book Thief': not harmful, all seeing, wise, almost benign in its observations.

This is really quite an amazing book. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. There have been so many questions since the war about how did the German people not know what was going on under their noses, why didn't people stand up and object. I would say, after reading this, they were simply frozen with fear from doing anything that would draw attention to them or their families. The evil perpetrated by Hitler and his cohorts cannot ever be forgotten, and as long as stories  like this keep being published, we will always be reminded. 

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