A View Across The Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman is a powerful historical novel about ordinary men and women who performed extraordinary acts of bravery during a time of pure evil.
The novel is set in Amsterdam 1941-1945. It is the height of the Nazi occupation and a time of terror and unspeakable horrors. The Jewish people begin to disappear and no one said anything. Rumours of roundups began. Only when blood lands on a character’s doorstep do they wake up to the horrors all around. “When had all this become normal?” Now a character feels compelled to act.
Suzanne Kelman has captured the horrors of war and persecution. Man’s inhumanity to man knew no bounds. In contrast there were exceedingly brave acts performed by ordinary men and women who refused to let evil wash over them. “One doesn’t realise how brave one is until the cost outweighs the fear.” There were those who could not stand by and do nothing, those who went above and beyond, those who gave their all.
There is the theme of imprisonment. Not all the walls that hem us in are physical, some are mental as characters are trapped by guilt and memories. In some cases those trapped by walls are freer than those trapped internally. “They can take away my freedom, but they can’t suppress my thoughts or mind.”
Hope keeps us going. When we have hope, there will be something to live for.
In contrast to the everyday heroes, there were collaborators who profited from association with the Nazis. Some did it for gain, others were just wildly naïve.
A View Across The Rooftops is a powerful read of individual lights shining in a dark time. It would make a marvellous movie. I look forward to more by Suzanne Kelman.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.