“How can something that is gone weigh us down so much?”

This book expertly explores the uncomfortable: the monsters inside us; what is forgiveness? And how do we not become the monsters who destroy us? The semi-colons of life. All of this uncomfortableness is morphed and formed through stories in this novel. Forgetting the title of this novel, I sat in the silence of the last page, the last word, and realized that this book is about the fascination and hunger and healing of storytelling. Then I saw the title and I changed; the title now carries the weight of 480 pages of story.

Character’s lives are reduced down into words in the magic of storytelling. This novel’s stories share many points of view: the holocaust reduced into words from the perspective of imprisoned Jews, SS officers, and grandchildren of survivors. Stories of bakers, lovers, mothers, and scarred daughters. The mystical and fantastical story of Polish upirs, murderers, and forgivers. Life, again and again, is bottled and confined into story – begging the question, what about the lives who have slipped into invisibility before being written? The ones lost and burned and too big for words?

Thank you, Jodi, for beautiful sentences and sentiments and stories. For the sentences, “Revenge, power, or love are all different forms of hunger. The bigger the hole inside of you, the harder you will work to fill it,” they took my breath away. Thank you for describing the rhythm of baking, the pains of hunger, and combining an array of stories “too full of life to ever die.”