[Book Review] The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross

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By Max Gross

Imagine, if you will, a village so remote that time has seemingly passed it by. In his book, The Lost Shtetl, Max Gross transports us to a village, home to an Orthodox Jewish community, in a remote part of Poland that has been untouched by history. That is until a young woman, newly married, vanishes in the middle of the night. Suddenly, the village time forgot is rediscovered by the outside world.

Gross brings a very interesting approach in this story that asks the question, what if? The story is set post-Shoah but for this Jewish community, the Holocaust never happened. They were untouched by the Nazis, unaffected by the Cold War that followed. Unaccustomed to modern conveniences like electricity and running water. Living lives uncomplicated by modern technology.

The story takes some unexpected turns and is brilliantly paced. Gross’s writing invokes a wide range of emotions. The story is at times dryly witty and at others incredibly moving and emotional. I was rapt from start to finish and, without giving spoilers, the last line gave me chills.

I look forward to reading more from Gross.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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