Monday, March 26, 2012

A blueprint for dystopias.

Nazi Germany is the quintessential example of a society gone terribly wrong.  In The Auslander by Paul Dowswell, we get to see how a twisted philosophy can dominate a culture down to the fabric of a family.  Piotr is from Poland but of German heritage.  After the Nazis take over Poland and Piotr finds himself an orphan, he is offered an opportunity to be adopted by a "good" German family by virtue of his prized Nordic features.  At first Piotr, who has his name changed to Peter, is happy to a have a home and a family once again. He is amused by the family's devotion to Hitler and bewildered by their hatred of the "lesser" races. Then he meets beautiful and intriguing Anna and gradually his heart and mind are opened to the ugliness of his new family's racial beliefs and the repressive society that he is now a part of.  The story takes a thrilling turn as Peter secretly rebels and then faces consequences.  This story brings this era in history alive and is a reminder, like in so many of the current novels set in a dystopia, that it takes individuals with integrity and courage to thwart a repressive system.

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