When the shit hits the fan, there are two choices. The first is to go with the flow. The second is to do what is right, even when it is not the easiest path to take.
Night Angels: A Novel, by Weina Dai Randel, was published at the beginning of the month. Based on a true story, the book starts in 1938. Dr. Ho Feng-Shan is the Chinese ambassador working and living in Vienna. Joining him are his son and his American bi-racial wife, Grace. She is unaccustomed and unsure of the obligations of her position.
Grace’s perspective changes when she meets and becomes friends with Lola Schnitzler. Lola is Jewish. Her job is to teach Grace how to speak German. What starts off as a business relationship turns into a friendship. The problem is that the official line from her husband’s superior is to remain neutral.
Dr. Ho changes his mind after the one-two punch of a pogrom and Kristallnacht. He is determined to save as many as he can. But with pressure coming from those above him and Nazi leadership, he has a decision to make. He can either stop what he is doing or listen to his conscious.
This book is amazing. Dr. Ho is listed among the Righteous Among the Nations and truly deserves it. He not only saved thousands of lives, but he also opened the door for the descendants of those who he saved to come into existence.
The narrative switches between the three main characters: Grace, Lola, and Dr. Ho. Though it is writing-wise, a difficult task, the author pulls it off flawlessly. As the tension ratchets up, the protagonist’s options become more dangerous. The question is, who will get out alive, and whose lives will be taken?
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Night Angels: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.