66 pages 2 hours read

John Boyne

All the Broken Places

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2022

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Part 2, Chapters 1-11

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “Beautiful Scars (London 2022 / Sydney 1953)”

Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary

In 2022, Gretel is in the garden of a nearby bar, reading her Marie Antoinette biography—specifically, she reads about the Diamond Necklace Affair. She sees Alex Darcy-Witt conversing with a known theater actress. After the actress kisses him goodbye, Alex goes to Gretel, who pretends not to recognize him.

Alex says he was trying to persuade the stage actress to play a grandmother in one of his movies. He says Madelyn is the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, but she has tantrums and takes medication. He claims she was not well while he was in LA, and she accidentally broke Henry’s arm—Henry can be a “handful.” He promises no further disturbances. Gretel pretends not to know what he’s talking about. Alex compliments her capacity for lying—it’s the sign of a great actress.

Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

After the Resistance members mutilated the scalps of Gretel and her mother, the women covered their heads with scarves and moved to Rouen, a city in northwest France, where Gretel learned English. In 1952, three weeks after her mother died from an alcohol addiction and grief, Gretel, now 21, boards a ship to Australia.

Gretel meets Cait, a 22-year-old Irish woman whose father kicked her in the stomach after he learned she was pregnant—the kick killed the baby.