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MandyM

MandyM

Stuff I'm reading... Mostly romance and Scifi/Fantasy.

Hidden Away

Hidden Away - J.W. Kilhey This is a really confronting book. It's the story of John, a WW2 vet who is suffering from severe PTSD particularly related to his involvement in the liberation of the concentration camp, Dachau. The constant nightmares, flashbacks, heavy drinking and suicidal ideation seem to be getting worse instead of better. One day John sees a German man playing piano in the university he attends and swiftly becomes obsessed with him. The story is told in alternate POV's. John's is set in 1951 and follows his relationship with the very introverted and damaged Kurt. The other POV's is Kurt's and follows his musical career in Berlin, the young love he forms with his fellow musician Peter, and their journey into total horror and despair as they are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp for being homosexual.I knew practically nothing of the 'pink triangle' prisoners in the concentration camps. It's important that such a terrible episode in history is never forgotten and the author should be commended for it. It's wonderful that she was able to tell this story in the form of a beautiful love story. I hope it gets some recognition in the Lambda Literary awards. Having said that, this was a hard book to read. As Kurt's story neared it's climax in Mauthausen I was really tempted to skim past it. I didn't want to read what happened to Peter. John's struggle was almost as bad as Kurt's and I probably identified more with his shellshock (having nursed many Vietnam vets when I was young and worked in war zones myself) than with the concentration camp experience. I've cried literally buckets reading this novel. BUCKETS! But it was worth it. These characters and their story will stay with me forever.