For the next book in Challenge 2020, I chose a Booker Prize winning book for my next read. This happened to be Schindler’s Ark (published in the US as Schindler’s List and in the UK as Schindler’s Ark).
Factoid Alert 🚨 The Booker Prize award is a literary prize which awarded on a yearly basis for the best original full length novel which has been written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom; and whose author is a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Schindler’s Ark won the award in 1982 and since then there have been many other nominees and winners to note such as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ and ‘Life of Pi’.
“…when you chronicle the predictable and measurable success evil generally achieves, it is easy to be wise, wry, piercing…to show the inevitability by which evil acquires all of what you could call the real estate of the story, even though good might finish up with a few imponderables like dignity and self-knowledge.”
This is the tale of what the Jews of Cracow described as a hero, Oskar Schindler. The book begins with us getting to know Oskar – a womaniser, a drinker, a gambler. But also a risk taker. And many Jews owed their lives to him, as he risked his life to protect them, ensuring under his watch, Jews from his works were not to be murdered. Schindler was an angel of mercy.
” But it will not be possible to see the whole story under such easy character headings. For this is the story of the pragmatic triumph of good over evil, a triumph in eminently measurable, statistical, unsubtle terms.”
As an entrepreneur in the third reich, with multiple business and love interests – life was getting slightly more complicated than he’d like. When the Jews in Poland were removed of any rights, a brainwave hit Oskar and soon enough he had employed a selection of them in his factories, making him money whilst they worked for virtually nothing.
“Beyond this day…no thinking person could fail to see what would happen. I was now resolved to do everything in my power to defeat the system.”
When the Nazi command changed and started exporting Jews to concentration camps, Schindler knows the reality of this, without the Jews, he won’t continue making a staggering profit. Who will work for him? Alive they make him money. Dead, they are worthless. So Oskar, with his businessman head on hatched a plan. A plan to bend the rules; to keep the Jews working in the factories and out of the gas chambers. And so Schindler’s List was born.
“There was a Schindler list. It was worth everything to be on it.”
Despite it being a well known historical classic, I really didn’t enjoy it. Whilst historically and ethically it has so much value and worth, the writing wasn’t for me. It felt forced, a lot of it in third person. Whilst normally I wouldn’t mind, in this particular book, it made it quite tedious in reading. Despite this, the story itself is absolutely fascinating as are the characters within and I’m so glad I picked up this book and chose it for this challenge.
“Fatal human malice is the staple of narrators, original sin the mother-fluid of historians. But it is a risky enterprise to have to write of virtue.”
In this book, Thomas Keneally, tells us of so many characters, so many stories, their backgrounds and what became of them both of the Germans and of the Jews. This book shows a true Oskar in a way…Oskar was not a saint. He had many faults. But despite how bad people can be, some good can be found within them.
Please don’t give up on each other. Please don’t shut each other out. See the good in each other and make it shine so bright.
You can find this read on Amazon:
Stay tuned for my next Challenge 2020 read!
Until next time,