The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein
In the schoolroom of a simple European village, Kicsi spends her days dreaming of the lands beyond the mountains: Paris and New York, Arabia and Shanghai. When the local rabbi curses Kicsi’s school for teaching lessons in Hebrew, the holy tongue, the possibility of adventure seems further away than ever. But when a mysterious stranger appears telling stories of far-off lands, Kicsi feels the world within her grasp.
His name is Vörös, and he is a magician’s assistant who seems to have powers all his own. There is darkness growing at the edge of the village—a darkness far blacker than any rabbi’s curse. Vörös warns of the Nazi threat, but only Kicsi hears what he says. As evil consumes a continent, Vörös will teach Kicsi that sometimes the magician’s greatest trick is survival. (publisher)
The book follows Kisci, a young Jewish girl, from a small Hungarian village in the 1930s. When a red-haired stranger called Vörös, who can see to the future, comes to the village and tells about horrors to come, the village rabbi refuses to listen and insists that nothing will happen. The two men clash and becomes the talk of the village. But Kisci believes Vörös and wants to help him protecting the village. But then the Nazis come and everything changes.
This is YA book about Holocaust mixed with magic and it’s quite short being only 144 pages.
I liked it but since it’s so short it gets kinda jumpy at some points. Suddenly you notice that one year has gone and people have gone from just falling in love to be practically engaged. The year in the concentration camp is covered quite hastily but since this is targeted to younger people it might be a good thing too. We still get the desperation and hopelessness through.
I liked that while Kisci and Vörös are drawn together it’s not romantic. There was just enough magic mixed with history that it fitted.
Published: Open Road Media (2014)