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Daniel Mendelsohn's ‘The Lost’ is a highly acclaimed work that drew me in to his personal quest to uncover the last days of his family; the search for Six of Six million. His exhaustive detective work recreates a violent slice of history, during which he forms a tender relationship with the six who lived in Bolechow, Poland. Mendelsohn’s skill brings to life his grandfather's brother, his wife, their four children and their violent deaths.

Mendelsohn weaves passages from the book of Genesis into his reflections, echoing similarities with 20th Century life. Philosophical questions about evil, ethics and morality creates an additional expansive layer to his work.

I enjoyed the richness of his classicist background and his deep affection for the lost family members. The tenacity with which he pursued his mission across the world is remarkable.

‘The Lost’ became an emotional journey that kept me engaged to the end, as the pieces fell into place. Yet, as so many searches reveal, questions still remain, true of Mendelsohn mission. A poignant sentence still sits with me - ‘There is so much more that will always be impossible to know.’

Fourth Estate, 2006

552 pages


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