Monday, April 25, 2016

The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro (audio)


Alizee Benoit is an American painter from France who is working on the WPA (Works Progress Administration) mural project in New York City when World War II breaks out.  Even though she is far away from the war, she worries constantly about the rest of her Jewish family living in German-occupied France.  As she tries to get visas for her family to come to the United States, she faces other personal and political obstacles.  And then she suddenly disappears and her family and friends never hear from her again.  

Seventy years later, her great-niece Danielle is still looking for answers.  Also an artist, Danielle finds a series of paints that she thinks may have been done Alizee.  Dealing with her own problems in her personal life, she connect with the story of her great-aunt and is determined to find the truth that she is looking for.

I have read a lot of books about World War II and the holocaust and am always surprised when I read one that looks at a new aspect of the war.  For this book, it was the obstacles that European refugees faces in order to obtain visas to immigrate to the United States.  I'm not sure how many of the details were completely accurate, but the author told an interesting and unique story of a women's struggle to save her family when she was 1,000s of miles away with essentially no power to do so.  I was struck by Alizee's families letters about the treatment of the Jewish people and their desperation to leave the country.  I also really liked the incorporation of art and the WPA and the story was very compelling.

The main reason I gave this book 4 instead of 5 stars was because it was way too predictable.  I figured out end of the story from pretty much the very beginning and there were a lot of details that seemed to fit too perfectly together in order to make the story to work.  I found myself rolling my eyes a few too many times (especially towards the end), but it was all-in-all a very enjoyable book.

No comments:

Post a Comment