A Meal in Winter

A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli.  Translated by Sam Taylor.

Some people may dismiss Twitter as a platform for people to reveal what they are having for lunch, but someone once shared with me about how much you can learn from someone by their meals.  Are they skipping lunch? Did they have something prepared? Do they pick up something easy but unhealthy? Are they eating alone or with friends? We can learn a lot from a simple meal.

This novella is a bit like that; it’s a meal that shares so much more with the readers.  Hubert Mingarelli is a French author who wrote this book about German Nazi soldiers in Poland.  The plot is limited.  The soldiers sneak out to catch Jews to avoid having to shoot the previous captives.  If they succeed, they can also get out of it the following day.  A meal is prepared from limited ingredients in the harsh cold of winter and shared between the soldiers, their prisoner, a random person passing by and his dog.

I was a bit reluctant to read a book set in this era. It has been done so many times before, and a number of other books I’ve been gifted for this challenge are set in the same era.  However, this book is something else. The word I used to describe how I felt when I finished reading it was ‘suffocated’.  Like all my air had been taken away and I was left breathless. There is a power in these words that punches you right in the guts.

It’s a short book and a simple concept but there is so much hidden in these pages.  I recommend checking it out.