The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Author’s NoteIn April 2004 an image came into my mind of two boys sitting on either side of a fence. I knew they had been taken away from their homes and friends and brought, separately, to a terrible place. Neither of them knew what they were doing there, but I did, and it was the story of these two boys, who I named Bruno and Shmuel, that I wanted to tell.The issue of writing about the Holocaust is, of course, a contentious matter and any novelist who explores it had better be sure about his or her intentions before setting out. It’s presumptuous to assume that from today’s perspective one can truly understand the horrors of the concentration camps, although it’s the responsibility of the writer to uncover as much emotional truth within that desperate landscape as he possibly can.Throughout writing and re-writing the novel, I believed that the only respectful way for me to deal with this subject was through the eyes of a child, and particularly through the eyes of a rather naïve child who couldn’t possibly understand the terrible things that were taking place around him. For after all, only the victims and survivors can truly comprehend the awfulness of that time and place; the rest of us live on the other side of the fence, staring through from our own comfortable place, trying in our own clumsy ways to make sense of it all.Fences, such as the one at the heart of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, still exist; it is unlikely that they will ever fully disappear. But whatever reaction you may have to this story, I hope that the voices of Bruno and Shmuel will continue to resonate with you as they have with me. Their lost voices must continue to be heard; their untold stories must continue to be recounted. For they represent the ones who didn’t live to tell their stories themselves.John BoyneDublin, 2006

John Boyne's interview reading a section of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas:'The walk along the fence took Bruno...'

Núria Company


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