A short but powerful tale of an innocent friendship between Bruno and Shmuel who lived on opposite sides of the fence.
"One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family's maid - who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet - standing in his bedroom,k pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he's hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else's business."(opening lines)
"But there were no other streets around the new house, no one strolling along or rushing around, and definitely no shops or fruit and vegetable stalls. When he closed his eyes, everything around him just felt empty and cold, as if he was in the loneliest place in the world. The middle of nowhere."(12-13)
"'Well, what's Out-With then?' he repeated. 'Out with what?'
'That's the name of the house,' explained Gretel. "Out-With.'"(24)
"About twenty feet further along from the garden and the flowers and the bench with the plaque on it, everything changed. There was a huge wire fence that ran along the length of the house and turned in at the top, extending further along in either direction, further than she could possible see. The fence was very high, higher even than the house they were standing in, and there were huge wooden posts, like telegraph poles, dotted along it, holding it up."(31)
"Did you do something bad in work? I know that everyone says you're an important man and that the Fury has big things in mind for you, but he'd hardly send you to a place like this if you hadn't done something that he wanted to punish you for."(50)
"'No, not them,' said Bruno. 'The people I see from the window. In the huts, in the distance. They're all dressed the same.'
'Ah, those people,' said Father,nodding his head and smiling slightly. 'Those people... well, they're not people at all, Bruno.'"(53)
"The one thing Bruno tried not to think about was that he had been told on countless occasions by both Mother and Father that he was not allowed to walk in this direction, that he was not allowed anywhere near the fence or the camp, and most particularly that exploration was banned at Out-With. With No Exceptions."(103)
"You're my best friend, Shmuel... My best friend for life."(213)
David Fickling Books Edition, 2006
Personal Note: Bought in Trier, Germany and finished en route to Brussels, Belgium, May 6, 2010.