Thursday, October 18, 2012

Half Blood Blues

Half Blood Blues was my pick for the BPYC book club.  I'd read this one in April so had to refresh my memory for our discussion by revisiting the beginning and end chapters.  What really struck me this time around was the use of light.  As Sid moves toward sharing truth,  rooms become illuminated; earlier in the story, characters hide in darkness.

No one in this novel is exactly as they appear.  The Jewish character is a blonde and blue-eyed Aryan type, Sid 'passes' for white, Hiero is ebony-black but surprises Americans and Europeans alike with his native German.

There are lies and partial truths, told sometimes for the sake of survival, but more often for the sake of ego or vanity.

As the story travels back and forth between decades, Sid's great betrayal is slowly revealed.  The guilt is so overwhelming it becomes physically unbearable for him at times.  When he makes his confession to Thomas he doesn't expect forgiveness and knows sharing the long-held secret won't change the past.

In Sid's mind, the act of hiding the visas years before is the sole cause of Hiero's imprisonment in the concentration camp.  Although there is no denying this was a major contributing factor, it wasn't the only cause, it was a series of events.  Sid needs his own understanding as much as he needs Hiero's forgiveness.

This book will turn up again in March as a Book Babe pick, and I'm sure there will be a new layer of interpretation the next time around.

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