Historical fiction presents a story set in the past, often during a significant time period. In historical fiction, the time period is an important part of the setting and often of the story itself.
Historical fiction may include fictional characters, well-known historical figures or a mixture of the two. Authors of historical fiction usually pay close attention to the details of their stories (settings, clothing, dialogue, etc.) to ensure that they fit the time periods in which the narratives take place.
In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.
There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.
Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.
About the book
The book is about a true story even if a little fictionalised, in the sense that the author, as she says in the final part, added her own, especially where it is not known exactly how the story went.
What I think
The book is very beautiful, the hope that you read is very heartfelt and knowing this part of the history made me happy. I knew the rough outlines of the help England gave to Jewish children, but I didn’t know the story that deep.
War and Peace centers broadly on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the best-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfilment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves behind his family to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman, who intrigues both men. As Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy vividly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
Yeah, I’ve read War and Peace. And since that time, everything went wrong. I mean, I got off to a good start, I read about 500 pages the first month, then when the story of the war started to take up all the narration I got particularly bored and couldn’t go on. And I had a reader’s block.
One of the greatest Japanese authors, never published before in Italy, relives the bombing of Nagasaki in August 1945. A memory that continues to burn in the bodies and minds of survivors and is renewed with fear of modern nuclear accidents. "The darkness vanished, making room for a light between blue and red, the color of hydrangea when it begins to bloom. It wasn't hot, it wasn't cold. It looked like a ghostly light as solid as a wall "
Translated here for the first time in Italian, Kyoko Hayashi is an absolute reference point for the memory of the atomic bomb and the elaboration of that event of absolute destruction. She the author has always considered herself a "witness of August 9" and as such she has taken on the narrative of the nuclear holocaust so that she does not sink into oblivion and maintain her value as a warning for future generations. In the short story "The Two Tomb Signs" the facts of Nagasaki are seen through the story of two teenage girls, Yòko and Wakako. "The place of the rite" retraces the days following the bombing to cover a span of thirty years. "Il jarattolo" tells of the survivors living with the terror of the consequences of the atomic bomb, while "II crop" expresses fears for the contamination generated by the civil use of nuclear power.
About the book
The book is a collection of four short stories, plus a note from the author (please read the note) and a note from the curator of the book. The stories are: Two Grave Markers, The Empty Can, Ritual of Death and “The Harvest” not translated into English. The first is a heartbreaking tale of two friends struck by the atomic bomb, the second is the story of a group of friends who years later find themselves at their old school and remember one of their friends who always kept a tin can with her after the atomic bomb, the third is a first-person story of a survivor and the fourth differs a lot from the common thread of the atomic bomb because it speaks of the Tokaimura disaster of ’99 (or rather it is inspired, because I don’t remember reading this name in the story but most likely if there were the name, I didn’t connect it since I didn’t know what happened).
Now, where do I start? I have so much to say that my mind is full of confusion.
Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying by the petty tyrant Don Rodrigo, who desires Lucia for himself. Forced to flee, they are then cruelly separated, and must face many dangers including plague, famine and imprisonment, and confront a variety of strange characters—the mysterious Nun of Monza, the fiery Father Cristoforo and the sinister “Unnamed”—in their struggle to be reunited. A vigorous portrayal of enduring passion, The Betrothed‘s exploration of love, power, and faith presents a whirling panorama of seventeenth-century Italian life and is one of the greatest European historical novels.
“The 19th-century Italian literary classic renowned for its vivid descriptions of the 1630 pestilence that gutted Milan.” —The New York Times
“Compulsory reading for Italian high school students, The Betrothed gives a historically accurate account of the bubonic plague that wiped out a quarter of Milan’s population in 1629-1631.” —Politico
“This is not just a book; it offers consolation to the whole of humanity.” —Giuseppe Verdi
About the book
The Betrothed is the first novel written by an Italian author and is a milestone in our literature. Everyone, or almost everyone, studied this book in high school, especially those who attended a “liceo” (I’m not going to explain the difference among all the high schools we have) or an advanced technical institute (usually in the second grade which is 10th grade for non-Italians).
With Manzoni, Italian fiction adapts to the modern reality already present in France and England for more than a century, thus guaranteeing the return of our literature in Europe after a crisis that lasted more than two centuries.
Two cultural strands converge in The Betrothed: the Lombard Enlightenment which aims to bring the intellectual closer to society and the Romanticism with its attention to national history. Without Manzoni there would have been no history of the novel in Italy.
The chronicles of maple and cherry tree form a tetralogy set in seventeenth-century Japan. We follow two heroes, Ichirō, a young samurai with a fabulous destiny, and the mysterious Hiinahime, a stranger who hides behind a Nō mask. In the first two volumes the narrator is Ichirō, in the other two it will be the heroine Hiinahime's turn to tell the story. The first volume, entitled The Nō Mask, traces Ichirō's life from childhood to adolescence. Abandoned, Ichirō is raised as a son by an unknown samurai who teaches him the way of the sword. The boy will live a solitary existence in the mountains, in the heart of a wild nature and at the rhythm of the seasons, between moments of bliss and lightheartedness and an apprenticeship that requires perseverance and courage. But one tragic night, Ichirō's life is turned upside down by the attack of shady samurai. Destiny will then take him to Edo (ancient Tokyo), where he will begin performing in kabuki theaters; there he will make his first friendships and meet Hiinahime, the unknown woman with the Nō mask.
About the book
First book in the series set in Edo period Japan (17th century) entitled Les chroniques de l’érable et du cerisier which, from the Italan translation (sorry don’t know any French) should be The Chronicles of Maple and Cherry tree, a very intriguing title. We are in the period in which the Tokugawa family holds the maximum political and military power in Japan, a period of isolation and persecution of Christians.
The book begins with a Master, a former samurai, who finds a child in a biwa shell in the forest near his isolated mountain home. He takes him home and together with the housekeeper he raises him as if he were his son. The latter, Ichirō, is raised with samurai teachings, of which the Master is an expert, until the Master’s past comes knocking on the door of the isolated house and Ichirō is catapulted into ancient Edo (current Tokyo) where, to survive, he has to beg and live on the streets, until he meets a poet who will help him find work. He also discovers the Kabuki theater and thanks to this, he makes his first friends. In Edo he also meets Hiinahime, a girl who hides behind a mask of the Nō theater.
All my book reviews are and will be 100% honest. I don’t get paid to write them and I don’t get “gifts” to write a good review so what I write is what I think. If I love a book, I’m going to say that, if I don’t like a book, I will write why I don’t. My critics aren’t an attack to the author, they are just how I feel about a subject or a style. See more in my Review Policy.