On my vacation to Italy and Prague, my traveling companion gave me this book to read, describing it simply as “a novel.” It turned out to deal in a large part with the Holocaust and suicide, bookended with flash-forwards to the aftermath of torture and war crimes — not exactly the usual fare for summer vacation reading, but not a surprise from my traveling companion, who knows me well enough to give recommendations that initially appear to be outside my area of interest, then turn out to be favorites. 695 more words