February 24, 2024

For over two decades, Mitch Albom has been among the top-selling Jewish authors alive, despite his books focusing on a broader and more amorphous definition of “faith.” But now, Albom is preparing to embrace his “obligation” as a Jewish writer by releasing a novel set during the Holocaust.
“The Little Liar,” which is set to be released on Tuesday, follows an innocent 11-year-old Greek Jewish boy named Nico, who is tricked by Nazis into lying to his fellow Jews about the final destination of the forced trains they are made to board.
The book was written prior to October 7, but comes at a time when Jews are grappling with the aftermath of tragedy following attacks by Hamas on Israel and Israel’s war against the terror group in Gaza. Albom, a Jewish day school alumnus, had previously featured Judaism in his books, but not as centrally as with “The Little Liar.”
While his previous books took a more ecumenical approach to morality and the afterlife, Albom’s latest novel is firmly situated as a Jewish story. It follows four central characters navigating the repercussions of the Holocaust for decades after the events, illustrating the trauma and violence of their past.
The book contains historical detail and is structured as a morality tale about the nature of truth and lies, narrated by “Truth” itself. Albom says he didn’t want to write a “Holocaust book” per se, but felt compelled to create a story that would contribute to ensuring people do not forget what happened.
Albom shared that he had a typical Jewish upbringing, including a deep and thorough Jewish education, but put a lid on it after college and wasn’t particularly practicing for a couple of decades. Writing “Have A Little Faith” drew him back to his Judaism.
The decision to tell a Holocaust story now was driven by a sense of obligation as a Jewish writer to create a memorable story that would help people not forget what happened. The setting of Salonika, with its large Jewish population that was wiped out by the Nazis, drew Albom to create a fresh, original story.
Crafting fictional narratives around the Holocaust is sensitive territory, requiring care and respect for the real events. Albom’s approach was to rely on the historical backdrop while ensuring his story was meaningful and contributed to maintaining the memory of the Holocaust.