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The Aftermath Review

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Patricia

Patricia Report 26 Oct 2014 17:36

I found this an absorbing read. Set in Hamburg immediately after WW2 an Army Colonel is sent to help with the reconstruction of Germany and is joined by his wife and young son from whom he has been separated for most of the war.
The family is given the home of a German who was a prosperous architect before the war and the Colonel decides to allow him and his daughter to continue to live in the house. Around them are the ruined city and it's mainly destitute inhabitants.
The sensitive plot deals with the effect of the war on the main characters and others around them. It raises many questions about right and wrong and how these people try to do the right thing in very difficult circumstances.
The book is informative about an aspect of the war about which most of us know very little. I found it a thought provoking and very good book by and author I had not read before and who I discovered thanks to Genes Book Club and Penguin.

Jan

Jan Report 1 Nov 2014 18:59

I enjoyed reading this book as I'd not read one before set in post war Germany especially from the British point of view. I found the characters interesting, although Rachel was a bit predictable.
I am enjoying this book club as I am reading books that I would probably overlook. So thank you Genes Reunited and Penguin books. :-)

+++DetEcTive+++

+++DetEcTive+++ Report 5 Nov 2014 20:31

An interesting concept – the story begins in the autumn of 1946 in battle worn Hamburg. We are so used to reading stories about the victors of the war with Germany that we forget about the ordinary people who have to live under an occupying force. Leaving aside the Nazi ethnic cleansing, how would we react towards the invaders if the tables were turned?

Ken Follett’s “Winter of the World” has good descriptions of a ‘good’ German family fighting for survival in the aftermath. This one brings alive the feeling of grit of a devastated city, the hunger, cold and despair.
It also explores the theme that under the de-nazification program, people aren’t who they seem to be.

Some how this book left me unsatisfied. The author tries to build personalities for each of the characters, but then skips what might have been pivotal events. Three quarters of the way through, I was still 'waiting for something to happen'. Occasional dialogue sentences were written in German………..without a following translation.

Did Rachel and Lubert make the most off their weekend away, or after showing him the documents, did they decide to forgo that pleasure? Why didn’t she reveal the contents before they left home?

Her husband Edmund believes that his interpreter would be suited to a London posting. Suddenly, as a throwaway thought, she is there. Did Edmund ever take advantage of her compassionate proximity, or stay true to his marriage?

Although it isn’t a novel I’d have chosen for myself, thank you GR Book Club for the opportunity to experience it.

Whizz

Whizz Report 6 Nov 2014 13:56

I didn't wholly enjoy this book per se. It took a while for the characters to come to life and allow me to engage with them. But what I did enjoy was having my awareness heightened as to life in post war Germany. Although very much a post war child myself,( a post post war child really!) what my family experienced throughout the war and the Blitz was openly discussed during my childhood. However this is the first time I have really been confronted with what life was like for the German people. The people in a war regardless of whether they are civilian or otherwise are the pawns in the politicians games. And most of them are ordinary people trying to survive their lives and nationality has little to do with that. And I love this book for reinforcing what I guess intrinsically I already knew.