This World War ll story reminds us that while soldiers are fighting and dying at the front, civilians are fighting and dying at home. It is a very relevant reminder in today’s world.
Rita is attending university in Krakow as this novel begins – enjoying her freedom, loving life as a student, planning her future. But that future takes a sharp turn as world events unfold. She marries, has a child, is living again in a small town. Then she has a love affair and learns an enormous secret. She must survive. She must keep the secret.
There is a fair bit of history here, especially on the Spanish Civil War, the Russian front during WW ll, life in Poland during the war, how medical personnel function with limited resources and while under fire. But for me it was Rita’s explanation of Darwin’s theory of evolution that was the thread holding it all together.
Is it the best war novel? No. But it does give an interesting perspective. Rosenberg has written non-fiction books on philosophy and science and his bias in these directions certainly showed. His belief in random mutation and survival of the fittest, and his theory of atheism and war and victimization are what kept me reading. Without spoilers, I won’t elaborate any more but I applaud the author for writing a book where the characters tend toward atheism. He writes about topics that most of us don’t want to think about.
Atheist’s Guide to Reality
………………………..and several others
Rosenberg, a philosopher, collaborated with biologist Daniel McShea to write Philosophy of Biology …”where they lay out the impact of biology on human capacities, social institutions and ethical values.”