A Meal in Winter, Hardback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)

Description

One morning, in the dead of winter, three German soldiers head out into the frozen Polish countryside.

They have been charged by their commanders to track down and bring back for execution 'one of them' - a Jew. Having flushed out a young man hiding in the woods, they decide to rest in an abandoned house before continuing their journey back to the camp. As they prepare food, they are joined by a passing Pole whose virulent anti-Semitism adds tension to an already charged atmosphere.

Before long, the group's sympathies begin to splinter as each man is forced to confront his own conscience as the moral implications of their murderous mission become clear.

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A miniature masterpiece, this is the sparse, stunning story of three soldiers who share a meal with their Jewish prisoner and face a chilling choice.
One morning, in the dead of winter, three German soldiers are dispatched into the frozen Polish countryside. They have been charged by their commanders to track down and bring back for execution ‘one of them’ – a Jew.
Having flushed out the young man hiding in the woods, they decide to rest in an abandoned house before continuing their journey back to the camp. As they prepare food, they are joined by a passing Pole whose outspoken anti-Semitism adds tension to an already charged atmosphere.
Before long, the group’s sympathies have splintered as they consider the moral implications of their murderous mission and confront their own consciences to ask themselves: should the Jew be offered food? And, having shared their meal, should he be taken back, or set free?


French novelist Hubert Mingarelli’s English debut, A Meal in Winter,is a powerful, sparsely written masterpiece.

It reads like a one act play,with a cast of 5, one of whom is the unknown narrator. The reader follows their journey were almost every action is driven by the need to survive: to survive the day; to survive the night; and the ultimate goal, to survive the war.

You can feel the stark freezing Polish winter, smell the pitiful meal that they attempt to cook. You understand their emotional detachment, the lack of enthusiasm for their task and eventually their humanity as they argue about the fate of their prisoner beginning with whether to feed him or not...

"Because if you want to know what it is that tormented me, and that torments me to this day, it's seeing that kind of thing on the clothes of the Jews we're going to kill: a piece of embroidery, coloured buttons, a ribbon in the hair. I was always pierced by those thoughtful maternal displays of tenderness."



Also by Hubert Mingarelli