The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
A Novel of War and Survival

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Synopsis




The True Story of Hansel and Gretal
 
In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel." They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.


Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, Louise Murphy’s haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children. The True Story of Hansel and Gretal tells a resonant, riveting story.





 

About Louise Murphy

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Louise Murphy, winner of a Writers Digest Award for formal poetry, is the author of the novel The Sea Within and a book for children, My Garden. She is a regular contributor to numerous literary and poetry journals.
 
Published July 29, 2003 by Penguin Books. 297 pages
Genres: War, Literature & Fiction, History, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

Kirkus Reviews

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A classic fairy tale is darkly reimagined in this brutally explicit Holocaust story by poet and second-novelist Murphy (The Sea Within, 1985).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The True Story of Hansel and ...

The New York Times

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On the one hand, a Polish sergeant risks his life to allow Gordon to escape capture by the Germans: ''God knows what they plan to do with you, with Jews, once they've got you in their claws.'' Conversely, a Polish acquaintance of Gordon's casually reminisces about his student days, in which he an...

Aug 10 2003 | Read Full Review of The True Story of Hansel and ...

Publishers Weekly

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This mirror image of the fairy tale is deliberately disorienting, as Murphy describes the horrors of the outside world compared with the haven inside Magda's hut, and the fear and anguish of the other people who conspire to save the children and protect their own families, too.

| Read Full Review of The True Story of Hansel and ...

Entertainment Weekly

And the first chapters of Murphy's novel, in which two Jewish children are taken into the woods by their father and stepmother, told that they're now German, and abandoned (eventually to come under the protection of an old woman), have a sickening intensity -- the sickening intensity, in fact,...

Aug 01 2003 | Read Full Review of The True Story of Hansel and ...

Although the late World War II-era Hansel and Gretel of this story are beloved by their parents in a way that their fairy tale predecessors were not, they are no safer. These starving Polish Jewish children are left in the forest by their father and stepmother, who hope that the children will not...

Oct 15 2014 | Read Full Review of The True Story of Hansel and ...

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