Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Postcard from the Volcano

I have put off writing this review, not because it's taken me this long to read the book, but because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say about it. I did some searching online to see what others have said about it, and haven't really found any other reviews. I know my opinion, but expressing it, in this case, is difficult.

A Postcard from the Volcano was written by Lucy Beckett. From the back cover, "Beginning in 1914 and ending on the eve of World War II, this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat, Max von Hofmannswaldau. From the idyllic surroundings of his ancestral home to the streets of cosmopolitan Breslau menaced by the Nazi SS, Hofmannswaldau deals with the truth about his own identity and confronts the modern ideologies that threaten the annihilation of millions of people."

Overall, I'd say it was a good read. I found the characters to be interesting and real, and the history to be fascinating. The story gets bogged down just a little with philosophical discussions, but at the same time, the book wouldn't be what it is without them. Thoughts of God, Christianity, Judaism, and Atheism are interwoven with the world of music, art, and philosophy. In many ways, Lucy Beckett touches on themes found in the modern world.

Each character faces their own moral dilemmas, and deals with them in very human ways. When Max's unborn baby is thoughtlessly aborted, we see the struggle that takes place within him. We feel the loneliness and loss when those Max love leave him behind one by one.

The one caveat I find is the almost sensual love Max is portrayed to have with his best friend Adam. Although it seems to be very innocent, after all it is one-sided and unacknowledged, it is enough to make the reader wonder what road they are being taken down. I am unsure if I am misconstruing the intent or reading too deeply. Perhaps that is the case. But these thoughts of Max are found throughout the book and seem hard to overlook.

I am very interested to see what others thought of this book, and if I'm the only one who saw this side of it.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on A Postcard from the Volcano.

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