Review: Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer
Author: Vivienne Schiffer
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: October 10th, 2011
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
If any of you are currently looking for the next selection for your book club, then please please please look into Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer. This absolutely stunning novel receives a (very rare) 5 out of 5 from me and is easily one of my favorite books this year! The writing is fantastic, and there are many controversial topics that would really engage a literary group.
These are the parts of my life: before Camp Nine and after Camp Nine, and those brief, unexpected days when Camp Nine was everything to me.
The topic of the Japanese internment camps created by FDR during World War II is a part of US history that is often overlooked. I am so glad that Ms. Schiffer wrote such a compelling book that bring this subject into the forefront. The basic idea itself is just so unbelievable, and I can't even imagine the outcry if something like that were to have been suggested regarding American Muslims after 9/11. Based on the Rohwer Relocation Center, Camp Nine seems very well researched and translates into a very modern literary read.
I know that Camp Nine was something that should never have been. It destroyed lives and separated families...But the experience was mine, too. On a deeper lever than I had ever understood, Camp Nine has defined my life.Once I started this book, I didn't want to stop. The writing of this Southern author and Arkansas native is magical. The setting came alive as I read, and I felt whatever emotion that the author conjures throughout the narrative. The subject matter first caught my attention, but it was the perfect amount of action and conflict that kept me reading. Little one-off lines of foreshadowing built a lot of excitement and increased my need to reach the novel's conclusion. While this story appears to be about a group of prisoners, Schiffer tackles the horrific and muddled situation through the eyes of a pre-teen girl. This is very much Chess' story.
Vivienne Schiffer grew up in the Arkansas Delta town of Rohwer, site of the Rohwer Relocation Center, on which Camp Nine is based. She is an attorney and has practiced law for twenty-eight years in Houston, where she lives with her husband Paul and their family. Schiffer is currently at work on her second novel.