Friday, September 03, 2010


The narrator is a street urchin growing up in Warsaw during the build-up to World War II. He doesn't remember much of his past history, though he does "discover" that he was a gypsy who was separated from his parents (and horse) during some "bombing practice". He doesn't know much about "society", but he is great at stealing things from people. He even steals the birthday cake from the person who will be his best friend.

He has a general naivety. When Jews are rounded up and forced in to the ghetto, he wants to go too, and sneaks in to visit them. Eventually he gets sent there too. However, he finds a way to sneak out and uses his pilfering skills to help feed his "adopted family".

The story is fairly dark in tone. However, considering the subject matter, it is incredibly optimistic. Here is somebody living through the prelude to the Holocaust who is still willing to laugh at how silly Himmler looks. There are bits and pieces of Nazi atrocities. However, the focus is more on his personal life. He lived a life "outside" the law. Once the world disintegrated, he found his life style to be more respected (and even needed) by those around him.

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