I got this book for my birthday in 2013 or 2014, I don't remember. I had read about it on the internet and it seems a really great book. But then I was intimated by it, it's big and not the kind of book I'm used to reading. I finally decided to give it a try. It took me more than one month to read it, I had to read other things in between, but I finally did it. And I was not disappointed at all.
I don't often read historical fiction, I think it was even the first book I read in this genre. Furthermore, it is about something I am not familiar with. Like at all. We learned about WWII at school, but about what happened in Europe, and a bit about what happened elsewhere, but really briefly. We are so focused about what happened to "us", nobody tells us about the fact that many more people were affected by it. The entire world actually.
I cannot even say this book is about war and its atrocities, because it is not. It is so much more than that and I am sure I did not get all of it. I was sometimes confused, I did not remember character's names and kept mixing them up. I was really intimidated by this book!
But in the end, I loved how true this book was, how the author writes about the reality of things, things that are not always pleasant to read about. This book is harsh, it made me gag multiple times; it was disgusting. But it was also disgusting how human can act towards other human. What men can think and do to other.
Despite being harsh and disgusting, this book was also, truly beautiful. Men who have nothing left, who are dying, still manages to show kindness and forgiveness towards others, which is what I love about the human race. These men are struggling to survive and they will still sacrifice themselves for others. Love (and friendship) is a central topic in this book.
I am really glad I finally found the courage to read this book and I really recommend it.