The Cut Out Girl
A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found: The Costa Book of the Year 2018
A powerful, harrowing story about a young girl's struggle to survive Nazi persecution, and a man's attempt to unveil his family's secrets
The last time Lien saw her parents was in The Hague when she was collected at the door by a stranger and taken to a foster family far away to be hidden from the Nazis. What was her side of the story, Bart van Es - a grandson of the couple who looked after Lien - wondered? What really happened during the war, and after?
So began an investigation that would consume and transform both Bart van Es's life and Lien's. The Cut Out Girl braids together a powerful recreation of Lien's harrowing childhood story with the present-day account of Bart's efforts to piece that story together. And it embraces the wider picture, too, for Holland was more cooperative in rounding up its Jews for the Nazis than any other Western European country. This is a story about the powerful love and challenges of foster families, and about the ways our most painful experiences - so crucial in defining us - can also be redefined.