There is no doubt about the fact that Leunens novel is a fabulous book. It makes any reader feel that. How can anything else be possible?
The story opens in Vienna, Austria at the time when Austria entered into a union with Nazi, Germany allowing Hitler to take control of the Austrian government. Johannes Betzler, a young man enters into the spirit of what the Nazis espouse by immediately joining the Hitler Youth movement and attempting to get his parents to do what the Nazis think everyone should do.
At an initial point of the story Johannes stumbles on the fact that his parents are actually hiding and protecting a Jewish girl. The author does an excellent job in describing Johannes’ mixed feelings and why he ends up doing what he does. As the reader is drawn into the story he or she learns about Johannes and Elsa’s reactions to both the radically changed political climate and the fact that Jewish people and other selected minorities are used as scapegoats by Hitler to move Germany into war.
Leunens utilizes hard hitting prose, sarcasm, and black comedy to bring out a book that will be impossible to forget. That it is an all-nighter is a natural for writing that drags in any reader that picks it up. The novel is in the process of currently being developed as a motion picture and is at this writing available in 16 countries. A major literary talent has emerged and I for one, am anxiously awaiting her future novels.
8/19 Paul Lane
CAGING SKIES by Christine Leunens. The Overlook Press (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1419739088. 304p.