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Welcome to One Book, Everybody Reads, the Wilmette Public Library's annual community-wide reading and book discussion program. Each year, the Library selects one book and encourages area residents to read the selected title and participate in various events that explore the book and its themes. The program takes place in the spring and culminates when the author visits Wilmette to discuss his or her book with the community. We hope you will join us this spring as the Library features:

2017 Mischling cover2017 affinity konar

Mischling

 a new novel by

 Affinity Konar

 

 

           

 

Ms. Konar will speak about her book on Sunday, May 7, at 2:00 p.m. at the Wilmette Jr. High School, 620 Locust Road, Wilmette

 

Click on the links below to learn about the book, the author, related events, and more:

 

About the Book About the Author
Reviews Events
Accolades Discussion Questions
Partners


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          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

Mischling

by Affinity Konar

(2017 Selection)

About the Book About the Author
Reviews Events
Accolades Discussion Questions
Partners

 

About the Author

2017 affinity konar

From Affinity Konar's Website

I am a Polish Jew and my grandfather served in World War II, so I was always drawn to Holocaust narratives. When I was sixteen, I found a book called Children of the Flames by Lucette Lagnado and Sheila Cohn Dekel. The book details the experience of the twins of Auschwitz, and the crimes and eventual flight of Mengele, the Angel of Death. While I was a very foolish sixteen, I knew I couldn't write Mischling then--if ever--but the idea of two twins alternately telling this story has followed me ever since.

Over the course of writing this novel, I worked as a tutor, proofreader, technical writer, and editor of children's educational materials. I studied fiction at Columbia and SFSU. I presently live in Los Angeles.

I will always miss writing about Stasha and Pearl.

More About Affinity Konar

Affinity Konar's website

Affinity Konar (Kirkus Reviews, September 8, 2016)

Affinity Konar's music playlist for her novel Mischling (Largehearted Boy, September 7, 2016)

Affinity Konar: working through pain (Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2016

Mischling (Konar) - Author bio (LitLovers)

Also by Affinity Konar

Affinity Konar in Poland, revisiting the hardest scenes from her novel (Literary Hub, September 14, 2016)

The illustrated version of things, 2009.  F Konar A

Interviews With Affinity Konar

Affinity Konar (Beginnings - Episode 288, Fall 2016; AUDIO)

Affinity Konar: an obsession with the twins of Auschwitz (Canadian Jewish News, November 30, 2016)

Affinity Konar confronts a horror (Electric Literature - November 11, 2016)

Novelists Swan Huntley and Affinity Konar (Writers on Writing, October 3, 2016; AUDIO - Interview with Affinity Konar begins around 18:00)

Holocaust twin experiments are the focus of a debut novel (WBUR, Here and Now, September 27, 2016

Affinity Konar, Mischling (KCRW, Bookworm, September 22, 2016; AUDIO)

Surviving the ultimate evil: Affinity Konar on Mischling (Omnivoracious, Amazon Book Review, September 8, 2016)

(Little, Brown and Company. July 7, 2016; VIDEO)

(Little, Brown and Company. July 7, 2016; VIDEO)

A discussion with Affinity Konar, author of Mischling (Hachette Audio,  June 28, 2016; AUDIO)

Unpacking the Mengele monster: PW talks with Affinity Konar (Publishers Weekly,  June 10, 2016)

 

Friends-Logo-Color     

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

logo color

 

Welcome to One Book, Everybody Reads, the Wilmette Public Library's annual community-wide reading and book discussion program. Each year, the Library selects one book and encourages area residents to read the selected title and participate in various events that explore the book and its themes. The program takes place in the spring and culminates when the author visits Wilmette to discuss his or her book with the community.

The 2017 One Book selection will be announced at the end of December. Please check back and join us in exploring the book and its themes.

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

Mischling

by Affinity Konar

(2017 Selection)

About the Book About the Author 
Reviews Events
Accolades Discussion Questions
Partners

 

Accolades for Mischling

2017 Mischling cover

"Best of" Lists

Amazon.com: Best Books of 2016

BookBrowse: 2016 Fiction Favorites

Flavorwire: Best 15 Books of 2016

New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2016

Publishers Weekly: Best Books of 2016

 

Other Accolades

Barnes and Noble: Fall 2016 Discover Great New Writers Selections

Boston Magazine: 21 New Books to Read This Fall

Bustle: 12 New Novels Every History Buff Needs to Read

Buzzfeed: 21 Incredible New Books You Need To Read This Fall

Indie Next Great Reads, September 2016

W Magazine: A Guide to the Buzziest New Books of Fall

Wall Street Journal: Most-Anticipated Books of Fall 2016

 

Praise for Mischling

"Mischling is a paradox. It's a beautiful novel about the most odious of crimes, it's a deeply-researched act of remembrance that somehow carries the lightness of a fairy tale, and it's a coming-of-age story about children who aren't allowed to come of age. If your soul can survive the journey, you'll be rewarded by one of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year." — Anthony Doerr, author of New York Times bestseller All The Light We Cannot See

"Affinity Konar is an astonishing and fearless writer, whose great gift to us is this book. With incantatory magic, she marches through the most nightmarish of landscapes, swinging her light." — Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia

"Affinity Konar's Mischling is a piercing novel written with chin-up virtuosity. The prose is dazzling, and the story of these twins is moving and searing, and as powerful as the best mythic stories of the masters of old." — Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen

 "Affinity Konar's Mischling is a tale of courage, courageously told — spare and beautiful, riveting and heartrending. Half of me wanted to linger over every page, the other half insisted I race ahead. It's a case of extraordinary storytelling from first page to transcendent last." — David Wroblewski, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

 "Konar has woven a masterful and poignant account of a pair of twin sisters who cannot be separated, even by the cruelest hand of fate. Her prose is mystical and delicately poetic, and she uses her manifold gifts to tell a deeply engaging story of fortitude and triumph. Bravo." — Lucette Lagnado, author of Children of the Flames and The Man in the Sharkskin Suit, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

 

Friends-Logo-Color     

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

Mischling

by Affinity Konar

(2017 Selection)

About the Book About the Author 
Reviews Events
Accolades Discussion Questions
Partners

 

Discussion Questions for Mischling

2017 Mischling cover

1. Did you have any prior knowledge of the medical experiments conducted at Auschwitz? What struck you most about the plight of those selected by Josef Mengele?

2. Music played a significant role in the workings of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Prisoners were greeted by music at the ramps, and Stasha notes that suicide was frequent among the musicians that provided this accompaniment. The idea of music itself, with its ability to distract from suffering, or to transport one to a life before imprisonment, could often be bittersweet. What place would you
imagine music might have in the memories of a survivor?

3. In many of Mengele’s studies, one twin was subjected to experimentation, while the other remained untouched. As the spared twin, Stasha is forced to witness Pearl’s decline. How does this change her sensitivity towards her sister? What about her relationship with those around her?

4. The brutality of Auschwitz-Birkenau forced many prisoners to become resourceful in unimaginable ways. Discuss the hierarchy of Mengele’s zoo, and the roles of Bruna, Ox, and Twins’ Father within it.

5. We often think of acts of resistance as grand displays of heroism, but such acts can also be witnessed
in small, meaningful exchanges amongst the prisoners. Peter’s theft of the piano key could be classified as an act of resistance. Can you name other instances of rebellion, large or small? Would you classify survival itself as a form of resistance?

6. The Nazi regime used the term mischling to describe Jews of mixed heritage. Why does Stasha refer to
this word while receiving the injection that will make her “deathless”? What do you think this word means to her by the novel’s end?

7. Pearl tells us that she survives Mengele’s tortures by listening to Zayde and Mama, and by playing The Classification of Living Things. How do these diversions inform her survival? Can you imagine other ways that one might endure such conditions?

8. In Part II, Pearl focuses on forgiveness, while Stasha cares only for vengeance. Describe how the girls’ perspectives inform their endurance and resolve.

9. What event convinces Twins’ Father that he can no longer take care of the twins? Do you agree with the decision that he and Miri make?

10. Pearl gives us glimpses of the future. What do we learn about the fates of characters in the book?

11. Discuss the notion of “the survivor’s hour” as described by Jakub. How does this apply to Miri’s grief, and her role as a doctor within the camp? Years later, Miri resumes her practice. Do you think she is at peace with her life-saving actions?

12. Stasha survives the loss of her family. Pearl survives torture, isolation, and the physical damage of
Mengele’s cruelty. Is it at all fair to compare the two scenarios, and wonder which twin has endured the greater challenges?

13. At their reunion, the Zamorski twins draw images that refer to their quest for survival, but they omit
any image that might represent Mengele. Do you see this omission as a meaningful indication of how the twins will resume their lives? What do you think the future holds for Stasha and Pearl?

14. MISCHLING asks how a survivor might “learn to love the world again." When one has suffered the
loss of family, home, and health, how can such a thing be possible? Can you imagine what you might turn to in order to restore your vision of the world?

Courtesy of Little, Brown

 

Friends-Logo-Color    

          Funding for One Book, Everybody Reads is made possible by Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.

 

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