Book Reviews

The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser

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List Price: £10.99


Paperback: 320 Pages.

Published: 27 September 2018 by Text Publishing Company

ISBN: 1925240266

EAN: 9781925240269

Jakub Rand flees his village for Prague, only to find himself trapped by the Nazi occupation. Deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, he is forced to sort through Jewish books for a so-called Museum of the Extinct Race. Hidden among the rare texts is a tattered prayer book, hollow inside, containing a small pile of dirt.

Back in the city, Františka Roubíčková picks over the embers of her failed marriage, despairing of her conversion to Judaism. When the Nazis summon her two eldest daughters for transport, she must sacrifice everything to save the girls from certain death.

Decades later, Bram Presser embarks on a quest to find the truth behind the stories his family built around these remarkable survivors.

The Book of Dirt is a completely original novel about love, family secrets, and Jewish myths. And it is a heart-warming story about a grandson’s devotion to the power of storytelling and his family’s legacy


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Emotional but also Confusing

Who was Jakub Rand and just what did he do during WWII? This is a grandson's quest to discover the real Jakub Rand.

This is a real enigma of a book. In one way it is powerful and moving and yet in another it is confusing and complicated.

There are several threads throughout this book some covering different characters and others the same characters at different points in their history. The book chops and changes between the threads with no notice or chapter heading making it very confusing for the reader. Add into the confusion the fact that some people went by more than one name or title and several names of people and places are very similar. I will grant that the author did provide a cast list at the beginning of the book but when reading on an electronic device it is hard to turn backwards and forwards. With hindsight I should have copied or printed off the list so that I could have referred to it easily throughout the book. I feel a few of my own notes would have also helped.

Leaving the confusion aside, the writing in this book was wonderful. It has obviously been written with passion which comes through the text. There is depth to the descriptions with a rich vocabularly used.

I really wish that I had found this book easier to follow. I am sure that the energy I used in working out exactly which thread I was in & what was going on could have been better used in my appreciation of the book.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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