The Auschwitz Violinist

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By Jonathan Dunsky; reviewed by Jeannette Hartman

The-Auschwitz-Violinist-Jonathan-DunskyIn this, the third of Jonathan Dunsky’s Adam Lapid mystery series, Lapid sees a man on a Tel Aviv street whom he hasn’t seen since Auschwitz.

The man, Yosef Kaplon, had vanished so quickly from the barracks that Lapid believed he had been killed. Kaplon tells him that he survived Auschwitz thanks to his mother: the violin lessons she forced him to take allowed him to become a member of the orchestra that greeted new arrivals.

Kaplon invites Lapid to come to a cafe and hear him play. It turns into a magical evening for Lapid, filled with bittersweet memories.  Surrounded by people speaking his native Hungarian, eating goulash that rivals that of his mother and listening to Kaplon’s heavenly music, Lapid is reminded of all he lost at Auschwitz.

By morning Kaplon is dead, an apparent suicide, supposedly unable to face life without the mother he loved. The more Lapid digs into why such a talented man would have taken his own life, the more he suspects that Kaplon was murdered.

He also begins to realize that Kaplon wasn’t the murderer’s only victim.

Dunsky’s strength is his ability to recreate post-independence Israel, with its floods of immigrants from around the world, myriad economic issues and population of Holocaust survivors.

Dunsky is equally skilled at creating mysteries that seem impossible to find solutions for. It’s easy to foresee why Kaplon and others were murdered, but nearly impossible to figure out who the perpetrator is. Lapid finds creative ways to investigate that are credible in the context of the story.

Lapid himself is a likeable character for whom it is easy to have sympathy. He’s scarred by his experiences in Auschwitz, but he hasn’t lost his integrity or his humanity.

What Dunsky isn’t particularly good at is giving his characters psychological depth. Time passes, but Lapid doesn’t change much.  It’s never clear if he will ever get over the losses that keep him anchored in the past. The lack of story arc across the books in the series means that you can read these books in any order you please.

If you choose to read the books in story order, the sequence is as follows:

You can find out more about Dunsky here.

#theauschwitzviolinist #jonathandunsky. #jeannettehartman


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