...[an] unbearable but transcendent debut novel ... In its blend of realism and fantasy, cruelty and beauty, the book itself affirms the value of mischling ... the aesthetic achievement of Mischling cannot redeem the world after Auschwitz. It merely illuminates it, woefully, brilliantly.
Ms. Konar makes the emotional lives of her two spirited narrators piercingly real ... What is most haunting about the novel is Ms. Konar’s ability to depict the hell that was Auschwitz, while at the same time capturing the resilience of many prisoners ... [certain] plot points can seem melodramatic and contrived, and Ms. Konar’s prose occasionally eddies into self-consciously pretty writing...but these doubts are steamrollered by Ms. Konar’s ability to powerfully convey the experiences of her heroines.
Konar’s novel takes an unorthodox, though not unprecedented, approach to these horrors: She describes them beautifully, lyrically, in the language of a fable. Mischling is not for everyone, not least because it is excruciating to read about such pain. I do not remember the last time I shed so many tears over a work of fiction. And it will surely offend those who still chafe at the idea of fictionalizing the Holocaust. But readers who allow themselves to fall under the spell of Konar’s exceptionally sensitive writing may well find the book unforgettable.