Normally, I don’t like reading books, but some books have a rare beauty. Those books create an almost indelible impression and leave a lasting memory in my head. Books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Books which you will never forget and you want all your friends and family to read too. Books that remain a precious possession forever , like an old and faithful friend , and of which you are sure that you will enjoy reading it again. Books that you sometimes think that they have influenced your life in some way and that they might have made a better person of you. Because of the beauty of it, you have been moved in a way that you thought up to that point was not really possible. Such a book is the beautiful The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. An almost overwhelming literary work with a very strong emotional charge. Touching, frightening, disturbing and most definitely memorable. A masterpiece.
The story begins in 1943 as the nine-year-old Bruno comes home from school and hears that his father has been promoted. His family has to move from Berlin to a new and distant environment. Near to the new house is a huge fence that stretches as far as the eye can see. Behind that fence there are a lot of people walking around in strange clothing, which Bruno mistakes for striped pyjamas . The boy doesn’t understand any of this and also doesn’t understand at all why they had to move out here. In Berlin friends were in abundance, while in his new hometown there seem to live no children at all. At least… not on his side of that huge fence.
The book by John Boyne is written completely from the perspective of the young Bruno and the whole world looks quite different. In fact, the world that we know, and which we think we understand, is made totally incomprehensible by his way of telling. Just as the world for a boy of that age is a real mystery. Bruno wants to discover this strange world. One day he decides to explore the area around his new home and makes long walks along the strange and unexplained fence. In this way he eventually makes a new friend with whom he can not play, but with whom he can talk . Even so it is unclear for Bruno why his new friend is sitting on the other side of the fence and why he is always hungry. The story captivates and troubles almost from the beginning and continues swaying in different directions . By the end of the book, you’d think it ‘s going to get a kind of open end, maybe something with a message for the future with a great moral. Instead, Boyne considers an almost genius denouement, which will definitely grab you by the throat and is almost incomprehensible at the time of reading. Absolutely brilliant and very moving. A shuddering end of a very, very memorable book.