Dust – Mark Thompson
The Last Word Review
There is nothing better for a book reviewer than to come across a new writer and his debut novel and Mark Thompson’s debut Dust is another fine example of the quality of new writers that have emerged during 2016.
With the backdrop of New Jersey in the later part of the 1960’s we follow the two friends J.J Walsh and Tony ‘El Greco’ Papadakis over the three-year period as the two boys share the experiences and life changing events. This is the era of the Vietnam War, the racial divide through America and a time that man stopped looking in wonder at the moon and actually walked on its surface as the world watched.
We see everyday life through the eyes of two 10-year-old boys who share a very special friendship a bond in fact as they face the everyday challenges that the late 1960’s could throw at them. The ongoing Vietnam War overshadows the lives and is heartbreaking at times. But the two boys have to overcome many things and J.J can see the ‘El Greco’ is having a traumatic time with his personal life. Racial prejudices are never far away in this story. The two boys are different than most 10-year-old’s with their cynical view of modern life. Two young boys and their young lives and having to deal with everyday things that many 10-year-old’s should not have to cope with.
Dust is a story that moves along at a steady pace and the focus of this story is very much on the two boys and is very much written in a style that many will recognise from other similar books of this time. It is beautifully written and one that many who discover Mark Thompson’s writing will come to love. One of those rare timeless books that people will discover in years to come and wonder why they never read it first time around.
A story that quietly captures the reader’s attention and imagination and never wavers from its undramatic stance. Quite simply this is an extraordinary novel and one where you feel the empathy for two young boys and the loss of some much not just the innocence of their years.
I am not just recommending Dust to you the reader I am hoping that you go and buy a copy on publication day and discover the story of JJ and ‘El Greco’ growing up quickly in suburban New Jersey. One story I will not forget in a hurry.
Thank you to Authoright and Red Door Publishing for the advanced review copy.
Dust by Mark Thompson is published by Red Door Publishing on 8 September available through Amazon.
From Yellow Star to Pop Star by Dorit Oliver-Wolff
The Last Word Review
A deeply moving memoir and a unique insight to an inspirational woman who survived the Nazis to tell her story
Once in a while a memoir lands on my desk, when From Yellow Star to Pop Star by Dorit Oliver-Wolff arrived I kept it on my desk as this is a woman I already knew from articles in newspapers. This is her story in her own words. A remarkable woman, a very brave woman.
Dorit Oliver-Wolff born Theodora Handler was born in Novi Sad in 1936. In 1941 While living in Belgrade she witnessed the bombing of the city and the horrific scenes no child should ever have to see. This was the start of the invasion. Along with her mother they managed to the hills. From here on they would be running and hiding, escaping capture from the Nazis being Jewish that would mean being sent to a concentration camp and almost certain death. She lost her father as well as other close family members as they were rounded up and sent to concentration camps and were never seen again. There is one story that is that involved her grandfather that he had to witness that is appalling he survived but was mentally destroyed by what he witnessed and the torture that followed at the hands of the Gestapo.
Both Dorit and her mother were constantly on the run from the Germans always trying to keep one step ahead of being captured, always looking for somewhere constantly going without food. This is a harrowing story of a little girl so determined to survive and tell her story. In the end they found themselves in Budapest hiding in the catacombs under the city when the Russians defeated the Germans this was not the end of the hell for Dorit and her mother as certain elements of the invading Russians took advantage of the women and girls and rape was widespread they both managed to survive thanks to some kind Russian soldiers.
At War’s end they found themselves under Serbian rule and behind and it was not until 1948 did they manage to escape and find their way to Israel but at this time they were stateless and with no passport she joined her mother’s dance troupe and this enabled her to travel to various countries to work and study and so began a remarkable career as a very gifted singer that shot to stardom with many hit records that to this day are still played on radio stations around the world.
Throughout this part of her life she never lost touch of her immense zest for life and why not having witnessed the horrors of war at first hand. She talks passionately of bringing up her daughter while combining this with her career.
In February 2015 on Holocaust Memorial Day she was awarded a limited edition medal for her remarkable work in Schools and colleges and communities throughout the UK talking about the Holocaust to students.
This is a story of a very remarkable brave little girl that was determined to survive the horrors of the Nazis and also inspirational. Dorit Oliver-Wolff has now told her story and this will now be read for generations to come. This is a story that will stay in my memory for many years to come.
My thanks to Red Door Publishing and Publishing Push for a review copy.
From Yellow Star to Pop Star written by Dorit Oliver-Wolff published by Red Door is available now.