'I wasn't happy. I wasn't unhappy. I was there at that time and that was all. I didn't involve myself in philosophical reflections, but my mind was like a camera, imprinting forever the idyllic beauty of the European summer of 1939.'
The idyll does not last long. Within days a young Jewish girl and her family are engulfed by the Second World War in Warsaw, Poland. Outside the concentration camps and mostly outside the ghetto, the adolescent heroine and her family experience the war with a secret. Living in a country house, they survive on false papers and 'good looks', while hiding four of their close relatives in the cellar. One day they have to cope with waves of German soldiers bursting through their houses; the next moment the Warsaw ghetto burns; another day they wake to find the front line in their front garden.
The author recreates this inhuman world though the eyes of her adolescent self. There are moments of poetic vision and moments of searing pain, but the book is a testament to heroism and concern.