A Bag of Marbles

A Bag of Marbles

Publication Date: 1 Aug 2013
Walker Books

ISBN 9781467715164

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Based on an autobiographical novel by Joseph Joffe and adapted with the author's input. In 1941 in occupied Paris, brothers Maurice and Joseph play a last game of marbles before running home to their father's barbershop. This is the day their life takes a big tum, as two SS officers enter the shop without realising the owner, and in fact most of the customers, are Jewish. The effects of the Occupation begin to impinge on the family's lives, and their parents decide the boys must disguise themselves and flee to their older brothers in the free zone. The scene where his father teaches ten-year-old Joseph never to admit that he's Jewish is particularly harrowing. The journey by train, ferry, and on foot requires ingenuity and teamwork to elude the Nazis; there are threats from strangers and help from unexpected quarters. Joseph's caution and resourcefulness contrasts with the sometimes reckless bravery of the older Maurice, who, after their guide deposits them helpless in the middle of the woods to find the route themselves, takes on the task of escorting other groups of refugees.