Mitch Albom on new novel about boy kidnapped by Nazis in Holocaust: ‘Important topic’ at ‘troubling time’

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Bestselling author Mitch Albom — known for the wildly successful “Tuesdays with Morrie” and other iconic books — started a new novel several years set partly during the Holocaust, called “The Little Liar.”

He had no idea, of course, that on Oct. 7, 2032, Hamas terrorists would launch an unprecedented attack against Israel and the Israeli people — viciously killing over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking some 240 innocent people hostage. Most of those people remain captives more than six weeks since the attack.

“I started the book two years ago, so I can’t take any credit for the timeliness of the book now,” Albom told Fox News Digital in an interview via email during his travels over the past few weeks as his new novel was coming out.

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“However,” said Albom, “I’ve been hearing from many people about how important this particular topic is during this troubling time.”

And “I believe the idea of hate, violence and deceptions involving such things is always a timely topic,” he said — “but perhaps even more so now.” 

Mitch Albom, author

Mitch Albom’s new novel is “The Little Liar,” which he started several years ago, before the Hamas terror attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. “The idea of hate, violence and deceptions involving such things is always a timely topic,” he told Fox News Digital — “but perhaps even more so now.”  (Jesse Nesser)

The new book is inspired by what actually happened to 50,000 Jewish people living in Greece during the Holocaust.

Albom is an author, screenwriter, playwright and nationally syndicated columnist (@MitchAlbom). Four of his books — including “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” “For One More Day” and “Have a Little Faith” — were made into acclaimed TV movies. 

A resident of Detroit along with his wife, Janine, Albom is active in the world of philanthropy. He’s founded nine charities in and around Detroit, including the first-ever 24-hour medical clinic to help homeless children in America, his team shared with Fox News Digital.

He also operates an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which he visits every single month “without exception.”

The Nazis created a cruel ruse to give the child a chance to save his family as scores of innocent people are taken off in boxcars to concentration camps. 

Fox News Digital asked Albom about the inspiration for “The Little Liar.” Its central character is an 11-year-old boy, Nico, who never told a lie in his life until the Nazis invaded his home in Salonika, Greece. 

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The story details how the Nazis created a cruel ruse to give the child a chance to save his family as scores of innocent people are taken off in boxcars to concentration camps — but things don’t quite play out as the boy thought.

Said Albom, “In all my books since ‘Tuesdays with Morrie,’ there always seems to be a small slice of my visits with Morrie that finds its way into the theme of the book. In this case, it was forgiveness. Morrie once told me near his death that I should ‘forgive everyone everything, and then forgive myself.’ It was a powerful thing to hear.”

The Little Liar by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom’s newest novel, “The Little Liar,” has just been published. The author told Fox News Digital, “I always wanted to write a book in which seeking forgiveness for the worst thing you ever did was a theme.” It is inspired by actual events in Greece during the Holocaust.  (Courtesy Mitch Albom/HarperCollins)

Albom added that he “always wanted to write a book in which seeking forgiveness for the worst thing you ever did was a theme. I also wanted to deal with the topics of truth and deception — and how deep a price we pay when we lose the precious value of telling the truth.”

He said, “All of this combined into a story about an 11-year-old boy who had never lied before in his life — and who is tricked by the Nazis into telling the first and worst lie of his life.”

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Albom pointed out the profound and vast differences between writing nonfiction and fiction.

“What I often say is, in writing nonfiction, you might be telling a story and say, ‘This would be so much more interesting if he had a twin brother.’ But you can’t do that, obviously, because it’s not factual.”

But “in a novel, you can say, ‘This would be more interesting if he had a twin brother’ — and then you say to yourself, ‘Hey I can give him a twin brother!’ That’s the good part. The bad part is five minutes later, a voice in your head says, ‘Maybe he should have a twin sister?’ And that’s the difference.” 

Mitch Albom Headshot

Said Mitch Albom about his new novel, “The little boy who told the lie, Nico, lives in hope of one day being forgiven for what he did. A little girl who’s always been in love with him, whose name is Fanny, never gives up hope of finding him one day to tell him that she didn’t blame him.” (Jenny Risher)

In writing nonfiction, said Albom, “you are bound by the facts, which can be limiting. In fiction, you are bound by nothing, which can be paralyzing!”

How profound was it and is it for Albom to have written and published this book, “The Little Liar,” now, as the Israel-Hamas war stretches into its 45th day — and as protests and counter-protests continue to erupt all over the world related to Israel’s continued struggle for existence?

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“I want to stress that while the book, in its first third, is set against the backdrop of the Holocaust, it is not a typical Holocaust book,” said Albom. 

“It doesn’t begin with Jews being loaded into concentration camps and end with liberation. It follows the life of a family before the war, during the war, and 40 years after. And most importantly, it never gives up hope,” he added.

“Hope is a very important message. I try to stress it in every one of my books.”

“The little boy who told the lie, Nico, lives in hope of one day being forgiven for what he did. A little girl who’s always been in love with him, whose name is Fanny, never gives up hope of finding him one day to tell him that she didn’t blame him.”

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Said Albom, “And even though it takes decades, that hope is ultimately at the pinnacle of the book.”

He continued, “Hope is a very important message. I try to stress it in every one of my books. And especially in this difficult time, with the difficult circumstances — retaining hope is critical.”

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“The Little Liar,” published by HarperCollins on Nov. 14, 2023, is Albom’s first novel set during the Holocaust.

Publisher Weekly said the novel comprises “a weighty examination of the Nazis’ lies and their lingering consequences.”

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The Associated Press said in its review of the book, “Mitch Albom’s books often capture the zeitgeist, but his new novel about the fate of Greek Jews during World War II packs a particular punch in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7.”

Albom’s book is already ranked No. 1 in the Jewish literature and fiction category on Amazon, as well as No. 1 in the World War II historical fiction category.

To learn more, watch the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it. 

For more Lifesetyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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