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Cilka's Journey
Cover of Cilka's Journey
Cilka's Journey
A Novel

"Louise Brealey is an excellent reader who gives Cilka a thoughtful, sympathetic voice." — Jersey's Best

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

"Louise Brealey is an excellent reader who gives Cilka a thoughtful, sympathetic voice." — Jersey's Best

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

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About the Author-
  • HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who 'might just have a story worth telling'. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale's story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 30, 2019
    In the stirring follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Morris tells the story of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again. Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis—with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to secure an opportunity tending to the sick and malnourished within the camp. Morris weaves a fast-paced story that captures the immediacy of Cilka’s duties caring for prisoners while appeasing guards at every step, but the brisk speed often papers over a lack of emotional depth and character development. Cilka and those around her respond with a positivity that feels unnatural. Even so, Morris’s propulsive tale shows the goodness that can be found even inside the gulag.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Louise Brealey impressively conveys the horror in this controversial sequel to THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ. The novel's fictionalization of a real person, particularly scenes involving sexual enslavement, is being viewed by some as unethical. The story focuses on Cecilia "Cilka" Klein. After surviving many years at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Cilka is sentenced to 16 years in a Siberian gulag for collaborating with the Nazis. Listeners will be horrified on behalf of Cilka and her barracks mates as they endure unimaginable mistreatment but will also feel hopeful when they help each other physically and emotionally. Brealey excels with the many accents and diverse personalities of the prisoners, their relationships, and the demands of their heartless captors. The repetitious and overly graphic descriptions of injuries and Cilka's unrealistic medical skills are somewhat ameliorated by Brealey's measured delivery. S.G.B. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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Cilka's Journey
A Novel
Heather Morris
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