Resident Feature

November Book Review

The Dogs and The Wolves 

A friend recently recommended this book to me, The Dogs and The Wolves. In this novel, the author, Irene Nemirovsky, draws upon her own experiences as an upper class Jewish member during the Holocaust. 

The story begins with the main character, Ada, who comes from a poor Jewish family in Russia. She grows up in a small town that surrounds a hill, where society is literally and metaphorically divided into a hierarchy. The rich Jewish families reside at the top of the hill, while the Jewish ghettos are built at the base. Ada and her cousin Ben are, ironically, distantly related to the richest family in town, who can afford to bribe government officials into letting them live comfortably. The plot takes off when pogroms, organized massacre of ethnic groups, begin the hunt for Jews in Russia. Ada and Ben flee to Paris where they attempt to return to normalcy by settling down together. Things don’t go well for the two of them, as one rekindles an old flame from Russia, and the other strives only towards financial success. 

This story was unique in the way it depicted the sharp contrast between rich and poor Jewish families. It alludes to the question of how dogs and wolves, despite coming from the same background, can live such different lifestyles. Besides the underlying themes on antisemitism and social hierarchies, the author also highlights very raw human emotions of falling in love and financial goals through Ada and Ben. I found this book to be a very refreshing and original perspective on antisemitism in countries outside of Germany. 

Book Boot Camp with Flola Tam, Resident Since 2004

My interest in reading sparked sometime in Elementary school. Teachers at the time assigned books as projects or were read as a class time activity. I got addicted right away, and began reading ahead of the assigned pages. Each month I will be making a book recommendation and a brief summary and review of its contents, in hopes of reintroducing a passion for reading to the community