2.07.2015 Books

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard

A heartbreaking novel commemorating the famous Doctor Korczak, saver of children.

A heartbreaking novel commemorating the famous Doctor Korczak, saver of children.


Defending Children’s Rights: Jim Shepard & Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss Dr Korczak with Eva Hoffman
Monday 29 June, 7pm
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG
£9.50 – book online or 0207 7520 1490

Fact and Fiction: Jim Crace and Jim Shepard in conversation with Erica Wagner
Tuesday 30 June, 6.30pm
203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD
FREE but RSVP piccadilly@waterstones.com


Warsaw, Poland, 1939.

My mother and father named me Aron, but my father said they should have named me What Have You Done or What Were You Thinking.

Aron is a nine-year-old Polish Jew, and a troublemaker. As the walls go up around the ghetto in Warsaw, as the lice and typhus rage, food is stolen and even Jewish police betray their people, Aron smuggles from the other side to survive.

In a place where no one thinks of anyone but himself, the only exception is Doctor Korczak; trying to keep a hundred and fifty orphans from starving.

They call the Doctor a hero. Aron is not a hero. He is not special or selfless or spirited. He is ordinary.

He is willing to do what the Doctor will not.


‘The Book of Aron is a novel of profound and delicate simplicity – passivity, almost – but one which calmly and indelibly delivers the bluntest of impacts. In other words, it’s a knock-out (though you never saw it coming).’
— Jim Crace
‘… a heart-breaking historical novel that ends in Treblinka may not be what many readers are expecting from a novelist and short-story writer whose ironic touch is often comedic. But Jim Shepard has written a Holocaust novel that stands with the most powerful writing on that terrible subject.’
— John Irving
‘If you haven’t read Shepard, you should, because he’s also one of the US’s finest writers, full of wit, humanity and fearless curiosity… It’s a hell of a thing to walk the earth with Jim Shepard.’
— Joshua Ferris, Guardian ‘My Hero’
‘Jim Shepard has written some of the best books I’ve read. The Book of Aron is his best.’
— Roddy Doyle
‘Let’s hope Jim Shepard becomes as influential as he should be. He’s the best we’ve got.’
— Dave Eggers
‘Shepard is a fantastic writer – compassionate, funny, and fearless… inspires us to look more closely at life, and be more caring.’
— George Saunders


Jim Shepard is the National Book Award-finalist and highly acclaimed author of six novels and four collections of stories, including Nosferatu and Like You’d Understand, Anyway. He lives in Massachusetts with his family and teaches creative writing at the historic liberal arts establishment Williams College.

The Book of Aron
By Jim Shepard
Published by Quercus
Publication date: 2 July 2015
ISBN: 9781784290290
Buy online

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