If what arrives in parcels and boxes on my doorstep is to be believed, the fiction currently being written is mainly either chick lit of wildly varying quality, or novels about some aspect of the Second World War; the quality of the latter is more even and overall much higher. More than sixty years after it ended, WW2 is still coming out of the national and international consciousness of its heroes' and victims' children and grandchildren in the way that a vast, deep bruise will show up and blossom horribly on the surface of your skin over a long time in the wake of the original injury.
And so it was that today I found myself finishing a book I'd read by force of will, holding my nose: a bit of strident Noo Yawk chick lit in sub (very sub) Sex and the City mode. I'd struggled through more than 350 rambling pages peopled with incredibly annoying characters whining about lerve and how hard it was to find and men and how awful they were, all in the rowdy, fake-bright voice of a narrator whose values could only be described as diseased.
With a small prayer of thanksgiving, I put this book down and picked up the next one. 'As for me,' I read on Page 2, a mere handful of paragraphs in,
I don't know yet either that in ten years' time, I will recognise, in a heap of pairs of spectacles almost five metres high at the Auschwitz Memorial, the frames that my father slipped into the top pocket of his jacket, the last time I saw him ...