Jim Shepard’s tender new novel, The Book of Aron is set in the Warsaw ghetto. Aron is the teller. The book collects the sharp lives and conversations of the children and adults around him, each a point of life in the face of death. Details are vivid, like hair turned grey by a covering of lice, and simply placed. The book closes with Aron coming to know Korczak, a doctor who runs an orphanage. A historical figure, he becomes a character in a wondrous fictional reckoning. There’s much to love about this book.
Jim Shepard is one day younger than me, and I had never heard of him before now. So there’s some reassurance there for doubtful days, in quiet persistence getting you noticed. I look forward to gently working through his oeuvre.