After

Publisher: Puffin Books

Review

The fourth installment in Morris Gleitzman's unforgettable series beginning with Once, tells the story of what happened to Felix in the final, agonising stages of the Second World War.

Having lost his parents and his best friend Zelda, Felix is hiding from the Nazis in an underground bunker, protected by the kindly Gabiek and with his favourite Richmal Crompton books to help him pass the time. But when Gabiek's farm is torched by the Nazis, and Gabiek is badly injured, the two fall in with a group of reckless partisans living a dangerous existance in the forest. Felix finds himself becoming assistant to the camp surgeon, Doctor Zajak, as well as making both allies and enemies amongst the partisans. Yet in spite of the many new horrors that he must face, Felix retains his matter-of-fact pragmatism and natural optimism, even when it seems all is lost.

Morris Gleitzman approaches the profoundly difficult subject of the Holocaust with sensitivity in this powerful, beautifully-written and deeply affecting book, which will be accessible to a wide range of readers. Although there are many dark moments here, there is hope as well as despair, and humanity as well as horror. The conclusion may be bittersweet but those who have followed the whole of Felix's journey will be uplifted by the final optimistic note on which this story ends.

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