One day Noah, a retired NYC professor  receives a phone call–his deceased nephew’s son is in need of a guardian. This eleven year old boy was a complete stranger to Noah.  Certainly a better guardian can be found than a 79 year old! However, there is no one else and so Noah ends up bringing a foul-mouthed, grieving, street- smart boy on his previously planned trip to Paris. The Professor is traveling to solve some mysteries of the generations before him. The novel Akin, spans just one week of time, but the truths uncovered span three generations. 

In France, Noah starts to wonder about his mother’s role in the war. Was she a helper of the Jews or was a she a Nazi collaborator?  None of the main characters in this novel are Jewish but Noah’s wife had been Jew and the idea of his mother helping Nazis is devastating to him. 

Noah’s deceased wife, acts as his conscience talking to him throughout the book, it is a clever way for the reader to better understand Noah. I was charmed by the relationship between Noah and his pre-teen ward. The generation gap leads to language barriers and miscommunications and ultimately to understanding. 

Written by Emma Donoghoe, author of Room. Akin is a quick read with engaging characters.  Oprah recommended it, and she was right; it’s a charmer! 

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