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Book Review : The Curious Kidnapping of Nora W by Cate Green

We’re delighted to be sharing Elena’s thoughts about The Curious Kidnapping of Nora W by Cate Green.

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First, here’s more about the book:

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B2L7N3LV
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ One More Chapter (20 July 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2261 KB

I am the oldest person ever to have lived in this world. I am the one who lived through their monster camps and brought the ones left of my family to London to make more family. I am the one to laugh at those angry, evil people and tell them, you see, I made it through. We made it through. This is enough. It is my world’s record.

Family matriarch and Holocaust survivor Nora Wojnaswki is about to become the oldest person in the world, ever, and her family are determined to celebrate in style.

But Nora isn’t your average centenarian and she has other ideas. When she disappears with her carer Arifa on a trip down memory lane in the East End of London, a wartime secret, buried deep for over 70 years, will finally be revealed.

Book Review

Nora Wojnawski is days away from her birthday – her 123rd, making her the oldest woman in the world. Her great-granddaughter Debs is in charge of the party and is struggling as Nora just won’t play ball. She leaves her care home to live with Syrian refugee carer Arifa and her son Nasir, which Debs just cannot get her head around. Why has she chosen Arifa to help her?

Nora’s story is complicated. She is a holocaust surviver and at her age the ripple effects are still being felt. She asks Arifa to take her on a trip down memory lane. The shop she ran with her long-deceased husband Henry for example. As she visits the past her memories resurface and she contemplates her long and eventful life. She mistakes Nasir for her own son Dovid (who is in his 90s now and also in a care home). Will her party actually happen though? And can Debs get over the fact that she has been sidelined for Arifa?

I just adored reading this book. Nora is just wonderful and I could not help but adore her! She’s forthright and feisty, funny and likeable. Still very much a matriarchal figure in the family.

I found the reflections of her hideous experiences so profound and heartbreaking and yet she made a life for herself regardless, met her true love, raised her son.

I felt quite irritated at times by Debs and just wanted her to let Nora have her last wishes!

I was really sad to finish The Curious Kidnapping of Nora W as it held my interest all the way through as I awaited Nora’s world-record breaking birthday.

A truly beautiful story.

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About the Author

Cate Green grew up in Buckinghamshire and lived in Manchester and London before moving to France over twenty years ago. She now lives and writes just outside Lyon.

Her debut novel The Curious Kidnapping of Nora W was inspired by her late mother-in-law, a resilient and feisty Holocaust survivor who lived almost as long as Nora herself. It won the 2019 Exeter Novel Prize.

Twitter: @saracategreen

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