In Paradise


In high school, and college, I was sometimes tasked with reading books I could not understand. Something about the prose was confusing to me and I wasn’t able to grasp what was going on. I had that same bewildered feeling while reading In Paradise. 

I had high hopes for this novel, as the plot seemed incredibly interesting, however, I was extremely disappointed with what I read, and to be honest, I was extremely confused too. 

The novel centers around a Polish American academic, Clements Olin, who goes on a soul searching trip to a concentration camp in Poland. He lives at the camp for a week, amongst other visitors, and tries to make sense of his feelings about the Holocaust. 

This book was so up my alley, so why did I dislike it so much? 

I think my main issue with this novel is Clements, the protagonist. I could not connect with him in any way. Usually, the reason why I like a book, is because of my connection with a particular character. I had no such luck with this novel. Lastly, I got completely lost trying to understand Clement’s relationship with a nun at the camp. There were a lot of things that were subtly implied about their relationship that I didn’t fully grasp. 

Overall, this was an incredibly great idea for a book but it wasn’t executed in the way I would have expected. I’m glad I’m now able to move on to the ever entertaining second novel of the Outlander Series. 

*Collage created by Gabriela Monsanto.