An Epiphany in Lilacs
Mazo Publishers (2017)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (01/18)
“An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps” by Iris Dorbian is a moving story with a unique perspective addressing life after the war.
It is 1945, and fourteen-year-old Daniel has just been released from a concentration camp. Displaced because he no longer has a home to return to, Daniel spends much of his time in the hospital fighting dysentery and the after effects of starvation. He has no clue if his mother and sisters survived. In addition to having setbacks with his recovery, Daniel has to fight through horrible nightmares. He definitely is experiencing PTSD, but there was no help for it back then. As Daniel holds out hope for seeing his family again, he surrounds himself with mostly caring people. He develops a friendship with an older man who is a gentile. It is obvious this man is keeping secrets, yet his friendship with Daniel seems sincere. As Daniel moves forward with his life, he holds out hope that he will soon be reunited with his family. Once he has the answers he seeks, he is able to move forward. He will spend the rest of his life with the memories of what he endured.
“An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps” will give readers a glimpse into what the experience was like for people who endured and survived the holocaust. Knowing that the author Iris Dorbian, based this story on her father's own experience of being a Latvian Jew who was in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, during this time, makes it even more real and hard hitting.
The author's vivid description of the people and the settings makes the reader feel like they are there to experience everything from behind the eyes of the survivors. While the suffering of the survivors is showcased, so is their incredible capacity to move forward and on with their lives. I think that it is impossible to read this book and not be affected for a long time afterwards.
I highly recommend “An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps” by Iris Dorbian, for readers who are interested in World War II. It should be required reading for history classes.