Author(s): Affinity Konar
It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain. That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks - a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin - travel through Poland's devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.
Mischling is a paradox. It's a beautiful novel about the most odious of crimes, it's a deeply-researched act of remembrance that somehow carries the lightness of a fairy tale, and it's a coming-of-age story about children who aren't allowed to come of age. If your soul can survive the journey, you'll be rewarded by one of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year -- Anthony Doerr, bestselling author of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE Affinity Konar is an astonishing and fearless writer, whose great gift to us is this book. With incantatory magic, she marches through the most nightmarish of landscapes, swinging her light -- Karen Russell, author of SWAMPLANDIA Affinity Konar's Mischling is a piercing novel written with chin-up virtuosity. The prose is dazzling, and the story of these twins is moving and searing, and as powerful as the best mythic stories of the masters of old -- Chigozie Obioma, author of THE FISHERMEN Affinity Konar's MISCHLING is a tale of courage, courageously told - spare and beautiful, riveting and heartrending... A case of extraordinary storytelling from first page to transcendent last -- David Wroblewski, author of THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE Konar has woven a masterful and poignant account of a pair of twin sisters who cannot be separated, even by the cruelest hand of fate. Her prose is mystical and delicately poetic, and she uses her manifold gifts to tell a deeply engaging story of fortitude and triumph -- Lucette Lagnado, author of CHILDREN OF THE FLAMES and THE MAN IN THE SHARKSKIN SUIT
Affinity Konar was raised in California. She is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program.