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"This book is a masterpiece: profound, gripping, urgent, and beautiful" - Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Song of Achilles and Circe

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A heart wrenching and intimate novel of love and defiance set inside the Warsaw Ghetto.


Adam Paskow is a schoolteacher forced to share a cramped one-bedroom apartment with two other families as their Jewish community is herded into the Ghetto and cut off from the rest of Warsaw in 1940.


Adam uses literature to try to help his students endure their unbearable situation, but it’s nearly impossible to focus on poetry  when they are bartering daily for food and the war is intensifying just beyond the Ghetto’s walls.

As part of a project to keep the stories of the Ghetto's residents alive, Adam begins to take testimonies from the children and others to help preserve their histories.


These testimonies teach him how to survive - even how to find joy -  in a place where young boys set up their own black markets, where young girls try to pass as Aryan, and where, in a desperate upside-down world, no choices are good ones.

Inspired by the real life archives that allowed Jewish Warsaw's stories to survive World War II.

"The Oneg Shabbat archive contains vital first-hand accounts of Jewish subjugation, and it is represented beautifully in Grodstein’s first historical novel, supported by her intensive research and the book’s dynamic relationships that show the value of everyday intimacies... Recommended for readers who enjoy stories from all time periods about the extraordinary actions of ordinary people." - Library Journal

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