Length: 562 pages
Setting: 1970s New York City, and WWII in Aushweitz
Interest: It’s one of the Time Top 100 books of the century
Summary: There are basically two stories that are interwoven. One is in the present and centers on Sophie, a Polish immigrant, Nathan, a rich manic-depressive, and Stingo, a Southern writer. This story follows the three new friends as they live together in NYC. They have lots of fun when Nathan is in his manic state, but he turns violent in his depressive state. Sophie is madly in love with Nathan and ultimately, they both commit suicide. The other story that Stingo pieces together is about Sophie’s life pack in Poland during WWII. She was sent to Auschwitz with her two children.
Final thoughts: A quick read, but full of adult themes – lots of adult language and sex. The scenes in Auschwitz were also full of hard choices. I read this book more than ten years ago, and I still remember the scene that gives the book its name. Interestingly enough, the first part of the book mentions many novels of the time, and most of them were either on the Time Top 100 list or another book by the same author was on the list.
Title comes from: When Sophie was sent to Aushweitz with her two kids, the SS doctor made her decide which of her two children would be sent to the gas chamber and which would be allowed to live with her. I can’t even imagine having to make that choice as a mother.
Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was a book read in a previous year (2007 to be exact)
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