Book review: Fragments of Isabella
A very short but incredibly powerful memoir of a young woman’s nightmarish memories of Auschwitz, structured in short vignettes and often in a stream-of-consciousness style. It’s emotional and affecting to read not only her descriptions of the experiences, but to grasp the palpable anger so present in her words. Even from her secure postwar life in New York, she admits that she’ll always remain fragmented. Not surprisingly, reading what she and her family went through. But I loved the writing style, it’s as if she was able to collect diary entries of what she would’ve written at the time, and the way each vignette flits quickly to the next underscores the thoughts that appear throughout – is this the end? Was that enough? Is what’s coming better or worse? Nothing is permanent, everything is fleeting. It’s amazing that something so simply written can be so powerful and haunting.
Despite its brevity, it’s not always an easy read, to put it lightly. But it certainly feels like something very important to know. A meaningful addition to the canon of Holocaust literature.
I received an advance copy of the new ebook edition courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Fragments of Isabella: A Memoir of Auschwitz
by Isabella Leitner
Published June 14, 2016 by Open Road Media
black and white image from the 1989 film Fragments of Isabella