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In a Dark Wood    by Marcel Möring order for
In a Dark Wood
by Marcel Möring
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Marcel Möring, a Dutch novelist has written, for me, a pretty perplexing story. A Jewish man, who has managed to stay alive during World War II by living in a hole in the ground for three years (by itself a bit of a stretch), comes out afterwards to find that his parents and brother have been killed. In pain and suffering, Jacob vents his anger on his wife, his friends, his town, but not his daughters. A part of the book has a kind of dream sequence, where Jacob can see all but is not himself seen. The end of the book is more gratifying and helps us to see that Jacob has reached some kind of understanding of his painful situation.

The book actively demonstrates that losses such as Jacob has had can never be overcome or forgotten. The very idea of achieving a successful life under such circumstances is questionable if not impossible. Another idea worthy of exploring comes to fruition at the end, when what it means to be a Jewish survivor of the war - and how a Jew can live or even just keep going in a world recently so hostile - crystallizes. Trying to slog through these situations would put anyone in a dark wood, and perhaps this is the best explanation of how the author has chosen to tell the story. We finally do come to understand that 'the crooked path is often the only way to the end.'

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