Fables are characterized by a short story format and narrative which conveys some moral lesson. Though John Boyne's novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, is longer than most fables, the fact that it contains strong moral themes could push it into this genre. I would also argue that the story could be condensed down to its major plot points, creating a shorter narrative, while retaining the moral lessons.
The story itself is set in Germany during the Nazi regime. Nine-year-old Bruno and his family have just moved to a new place where he feels quite alone....
One day while wandering outside, he finds a boy his very age sitting on the other side of a fence. It turns out that Bruno and his new friend Shmuel have quite a lot in common, but they are different in one major respect. Bruno is a free German boy and the son of a Nazi commandant, while Shmuel is a Jewish boy imprisoned in the Auschwitz camp.
Their friendship offers some comfort but ultimately leads them both to death-- a strong warning about the evils of involving children in, or making them ignorant of, war. The focal point of the pajamas sends an equally strong message about not taking people at face value. When Bruno dons his friend's pajamas, did he instantly become a prisoner? Did he become something his father hated and sought to punish? Though the pajamas represent the different life circumstances the boys experience, they also symbolize the religious, social, and ethnic context of the Second World War.