Hungarian director Janos Szasz, who won the top prize at Karlovy Vary with The Notebook, is back working on another Holocaust novel.

And the Rat Laughed , by Israeli novelist and playwright Nava Semel, is the story of a five-year-old girl whose only companion during the long months of hiding underground from the Nazis, was a rat.

Semel’s novel, which has already been adapted into a chamber opera, will be produced by Miki Zachar through her Cinema Soleil France company, as well as production companies in Germany and Poland.

Highly regarded by critics, the novel has been described an unconventional and unique Holocaust story that takes place in the past, present and future, about brave human beings and the power of love and fantasy as means of survival.

Szasz enjoyed success last year with The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier), about twin siblings enduring the harshness of the Second World War in a village on the Hungarian border, which won the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary and was Hungary’s nomination for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

The director of the award-winning Woyzeck and Opium: Diary Of A Madwoman also made documentary Eyes of the Holocaust in 2000.