hi! this is going to be kind of long, so sorry for spamming your inbox :). basically, i’ve read blackbird about a month ago, and i’ve been wanting to send you a thank you about it for a long time but never got to it bc i’m a terrible procrastinator… so sorry i’m only sending it rn. ok so: first of all, holy shit this is the best fanfic i’ve ever read, even outside the yoi fandom. everything is just top notch: the writing, the characterization, the pacing… [pt 1]
it reads like a professional novel, not a fanfiction (not that fanfiction can’t be amazing, but it’s usually lacking some quality i can’t quite describe but i found very present in that fic). so first of all kudos on that. i especially loved the very original characterization, where you played on a few tropes that are popular in the fandom and kept the characters true to the original show, and internally consistent, and the humour, which was just about perfect and exactly my style. [pt 2]
and then there is the historical part, which, thank you, just thank you. it is very obvious that you did a lot of research and are very well versed in ww2 and cold war history regardless, and just, thank you so much for that. most of the fanfiction (and, let’s be real, not only fanfiction) that touches ww2 and the holocaust does it in a pretty terrible and uninformed manner (especially when done by americans) [pt 3]
and as a jewish person who’s really interested in ww2 and the holocaust, this deeply annoys me. blackbird on the other hand, was done amazingly! i’m especially happy that a) you actually mentioned that the holocaust existed, which is pretty uncommon in works that are not specifically about it b) you didn’t fall into the “sympathetic german savior” cliche trap [pt 4]
and c) you actually showed us and touched upon the aftermath, and talked about the crimes the soviets perpetuated after they liberated the camps, which is pretty unheard of, even in professional, non fictional works. so thank you so much for that! (also, thank you for the historical accuracy, my inner perfectionist history nerd is greatly satisfied). [pt 5]
i also found it really funny bc my own family history is strikingly similar to the events of the fic (not the spy stuff, but a lot of other things). they lived in france before the war, and during the war they trespassed the border into switzerland to get away from the holocaust (thankfully they didn’t get deported bc my great grandpa had a swiss citizenship) and then stayed there after the war and built their life there. [pt 6]
so i loved how you wrote christophe! also, you cited “when hitler stole the pink rabbit” as an inspiration? omg i loved that book when i was younger!!! so basically, thank you so much for blackbird, and i’m loving your new fic too (your depiction of victor’s depression is amazing, and as a geography lover, i welcome the premise :)), keep on being amazing and writing amazing stuff!!! sorry for my incoherent ramblings and for my fangirling in your inbox lmao [pt 7 and last]
Thank you so much! I’ve said this before but it honestly means so, so much to me to have had positive feedback from Jewish readers about my portrayal of the Holocaust and related issues. I knew going in that I wanted to avoid the cliches of, as you say, either writing around it, or using it as just a framing device for somebody else’s heroism. It’s not something that I could conscience just glossing over, especially not with both POV characters actually living in Germany and dealing in state secrets, but I was extremely nervous about tackling it appropriately.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit was a really, really formative book for me as a kid- something about that device of leaving her favourite old toy behind, assuming that she would be able to come back for it, hit me really hard in the feelings. It was particularly a big inspiration behind Christophe’s role in the story as a smuggler of refugees. It’s also a good reminder to me of the power that stories have to create and nurture empathy in us- I’m still affected by that book’s narrative and imagery two decades later.
Anyway, thank you again! I have no objections to ramblings :)