I have not read the printed version and I prefer to listen rather than to read. The reader of this book does an excellent job and it was a pleasure to listen to him. He made the book come alive.
For me, as a Jew, the story had special significance in highlighting the history of the wealthy Jewish community in London, Vienna and Paris before the world wars, and illustrating the dreadful antisemitism which overwhelmed them and sought - for not good reason - to exterminate them. I never knew about such an educated, cultured and wealthy Jewish class in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and their incredible contribution to the societies in which they lived, and which despised them simply for their 'otherness'.
I enjoyed his compassionate voice , his ability to make the different characters come alive - to act out the story.
I was physically upset by the descriptions of the antisemitism and of vileness of the Nazis in the Time of Hitler. I was also upset by the descriptions of how ordinary Germans; so called friends, neighbors; so called decent, cultured people - could stoop to such degradations whether they purported individual acts of savagery themselves, or benefited from the murder of millions of people and their theft and destruction of the property and art treasures that the Ephrussi family amassed and which would have been a gift to mankind.
I found the first 50 or so pages, quite repetitive and could not understand such a prolonged peon to the arts and artifacts that are so passionately described. The story came alive to me when it moved into greater depth about the Ephrussi families and particular characters - and the circumstances that befell them. The fact that is based on fact, was very interesting to me.
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