I judged this book by its cover...It was sitting on the library shelf, looked moody and mysterious so I took it home!
This story has an unusual setting, Romania in the 1950's. The main protagonist is a deaf-mute man who is born to one of the servants of a wealthy country squire. The child Augustine grows up with the daughter of the family, Safta who has all the privileges of the wealthy. The story follows their lives as the war engulfs Romania, the Russians invade and destroy the illic life they have known. He is an intense character, who can only communicate through his drawings and the figurines he creates from scraps of cardboard he finds in the streets.
Sefta's family leaves for England but she chooses to stay and use her nursing skills to help out in the war effort. August is left in the countryside, people care for him but eventually he is driven to find Sefta and tell her all that has happened in the old country estate and the people they grew up with. He also reveals how he was imprisoned and taken to a labour camp because of his drawings.
This is a time in history I don't know much about and I think it helped, as I was able to concentrate on the beautiful way the story unfolds, the intensity in the characters and the pathos of their lives. The language is also beautiful and evokes place and time so well we can easily imagine it.
I really loved the experience of reading this book, I found myself thinking of the characters well after finishing the book. Well worth reading.