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The World That We Knew

A Novel
Written by: Alice Hoffman
Narrated by: Judith Light
Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Audio bonus! The audio download edition includes an exclusive interview with Alice Hoffman and Judith Light!

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites comes Alice Hoffman’s darkly magical story of in a heartbreaking time of war when men became monsters, children navigated a world without parents, and women were willing to sacrifice everything for those they loved.

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed forever, Hanni Kohn knows she has to send her 12-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Turning to an old woman who is familiar with Jewish magic, she finds her way to the daughter of a rabbi who creates a Golem, a mystical Jewish creature sworn to protect Hanni’s precious daughter Lea.

Lea’s journey with the Golem to France is fraught with danger and raw emotion. They travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses, to a mountaintop village where 3,000 Jews were saved, to a farm where the bees never forgive.

What does it mean to lose your mother? What makes a family? How is it possible to survive cruelty and continue to love? In a life that is as unreal as a fairytale, Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew takes us on a journey of loss and resistance, good and evil, the fantastical and the mortal, to a place where all roads lead past the angel of death and love is never-ending.

©2019 Alice Hoffman (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

What the critics say

"Judith Light's intensely dramatic narration suits the subject matter well. She delivers the dialogue passionately, and the narrative is brisk and sharp.... The magical elements seem perfectly realistic as revealed in Light's driving, theatrical delivery. It doesn't take long for the listener to get pulled into this other realm, eager to keep up with Light's narrative pace." (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about The World That We Knew

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Not a great listen for me

The narrator tried too hard to be dramatic and made characters speak like robots. It was hard to imagine them as real people.

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What an amazing story

This was beautifully read by Judith Light.

I loved this story. It broke my heart half a dozen times over in the most wonderful way. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-10

Beautiful

Alice Hoffman's magical words and Judith Light's beautiful voice made my listening experience transcendent.Thank you

3 people found this helpful

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  • Estarovia
  • 2019-12-30

A fan of Alice

I've been reading Alice Hoffman for many many years and have read most books she's written, Her story lines are always deep and leave one with a closeness to each character. This was no disappointment but a tough read. After having visited Dachau as a teenager it brought back memories of the darkness I witnessed there. I wept for the characters and the population of Jews and non-Jews who were slaughtered by the German soldiers. Thank you Alice!

3 people found this helpful

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  • readalot
  • 2019-12-01

This black magic was so real

This is one of those books that you'll find yourself sitting in the garage listening to the end of the chapter. I was so taken by this book. The decisions that parents had to make during WWII are heart-breaking and the way Hoffman describes that pain brings it even more to light than any other WWII book has.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Phyllis
  • 2019-10-05

Not Her Best

“Burn for eternity” is not a Jewish concept and was a silly reference. Saying the Golem “has to be activated” is using a very modern turn of phrase for a story set in the 1940’s. Having a Golem with no soul “bow head to pray” makes no sense. These are just three examples of bad writing. The story was difficult to follow and the book was a slog to finish.

For a brilliant interpretation of the myth, try “The Golem and the Jinni” instead. This one was a waste of time.

Normally, Judith Light could make a decent narrator but her staccato speech patterns for some character voices were irritating. Better to stay with her own voice and just read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-11

Beautifully poetic

I loved this book. It evokes all the emotions. Beautifully poetic. I highly recommend. So glad to have listened.

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  • susan glickman
  • 2020-02-17

Great book, poor narration

I loved Alice Hoffman’s new book and particularly couldn’t put it down in the last third of the book. Her writing is filled with imagery and magic and her storytelling is unique.

I did NOT like Judith Light’s narration. Though she is a wonderful actress, her reading had many flaws. First her command of German and French and Hebrew was not good and I especially did not like it when she changed her voice for characters. Not my favorite audible book. I finally increased the speed of
her reading to move it along.

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  • Jan K
  • 2019-10-13

Hard to Follow

Maybe better for a (literal) read than as audio - lots of details, and I found it hard to follow the story line. Couldn’t finish it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Susan Friesz
  • 2020-08-02

Hoffman is a literary artist

The story line kept you hooked from the first chapter to the last words. Hoffman painted the scenes and characters with her detailed descriptions. I enjoyed the book.

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  • Kathleen Mac Arthur
  • 2020-06-15

excellent

loved it...could not put it down
made me cry at times because it was so realistic

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-06-01

Hoffman's best

Holocaust. Magic. Love. Humans and spirits. Good and Evil. The power of love to transform.