The downloadable, digital audiobook edition of Rhidian Brook’s powerful new thriller The Aftermath, read by the actor Leighton Pugh.
Hamburg, 1946: Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan has requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund. But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatised daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together.
In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal. The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires, and the transforming power of forgiveness.
©2013 Rhidian Brook (P)2013 Penguin Books Limited
It is not good when you start a book and don't believe in the feasibility of the characters' first actions. These actions didn't fit the characters' personalities. Once this feeling was lodged in my head I could never throw it off. The characters, their relationships and their actions were not credible.
This is a book of historical fiction that depicts the first years after WW2 in Germany. The setting is Hamburg and the year is 1946. What saved me from giving the book only one star is the accurate and interesting description of the situation in Germany at this time. It was split into four zones, controlled by the English, the Americans, the French and the Russians respectively. The political tensions between the nations are emerging.
The dramatic ending is cinematic in tone. It was NOT to my taste. Talk about unbelievable! Talk about cute! Talk about tying up all the strings into a neat little bow! This book has in fact two titles: the second is The Picture Book, and that is the more appropriate!
I don't mind sex in a book, but every darn relationship was propelled by sex. This too was not believable. Did the author do this to attract contemporary readers?
I liked the historical but not the fictional content of this book.
(The narration by Leighton Pugh was fine.)
"Couldn't stop listening"
Really enjoyed this book. Great literary fiction set during a difficult, little explored period in history. Atmospheric descriptive writing and good characterisation, with excellent narration. I couldn't stop listening.
"Democracy up close and personal"
I picked this up on 2 for 1 Audiobook offer. I had never heard of this book or author before but glad I now do.
It is a story told in the post Second World War Germany and the role of the different allied groups i.e. the British, French, Russians in forming the 'new' Germany. It is the story of a British family who come to Germany to share a home with a German family.
It is interesting to see the way of life at the time and the lives of the ragged begging German children and the currency they use to barter and get vouchers i.e. Cigarettes. If you have Cigarettes it seems you can get anything!
Its interesting how the Germans had to go through this 'cleansing' process to prove they were not affiliated with Hitler. Without this certificate of authenticity they could not work travel or 'live' basically.
The British family are grieving for the loss of their eldest son who was killed by a German bomb in England.
While initially the mother Rachel finds it very difficult to be under the same roof with the Germans that gradually changes and Rachel moves from a grieving mother to one who is starting to live again. Her husband Lewis is shown as just a really good guy throughout perhaps too good to be true in some instances. He does not seem to have grieved for his lost son and finds it difficult to relax with his family. The story maintains the interest of the reader throughout and I felt connected with the characters. I felt the narrative helped and brought it all together.
Overall a very interesting read. I would recommend it.
"A different war."
A most unusual story set in the years immediately following VE day. These characters were fighting their own wars, some with principles and morals others with none. When these worlds clash, most of those in the story are changed for the better. It is interesting and very believable the way in which this transition takes place. I learned a lot about this period in history and although I grew up through these years, I was quite ignorant about life in Germany at this time.
The Aftermath is set in Germany post WWII and gave an interesting perspective on the lives of the survivors and the interaction between German and British citizens.
The depth of character and the individual suffering and challenges they faced was very well portrayed. Particularly enjoyed the interaction between the main characters.
I was particularly moved by the portrayal of the German street children and their survival skills.
I would highly recommend this book to those with an interest in the period and of human relationships.
The narrator was very good and added to the overall story.
The storyline was about an aspect of the era not much talked or written about. It was an interesting informative book although parts did not make easy listening.
He has a soft lyrical voice, it's calming and pleasant to listen too. He makes the rather two dimensional characters more rounded.
The story could have been longer, the characters apart from Lewis were rather flat, hard to like or really care about. More of the day to day lives could have been included for historical interest but it was a thought provoking and enjoyable book. Once I started to listen it was hard to stop. The end was rather disappointing though, a full signing off and tying up of ends would have been better.
"Glad I followed up a listener's favourable review"
An excellent narrator telling an extraordinary war time story set in a much loved city.
"Did not live up to my expectations"
I had very mixed feelings about this. The premise is an interesting one and I was hoping for greater insights into the work that went on in Germany in the immediate aftermath of the war. The time spent with the main character as he was working on the rebuilding of Germany was very sketchy and half-hearted and the main emphasis of the book was on his and more especially his wife's love life. As she was not party to his work, the book was domestic in tone and the major themes were barely touched upon. The stories of orphaned children trying to find a way to be in the aftermath of the war were, however, very affecting and they are what lifts the book to three stars.
The struggles facing children living alone was very affecting. The temptations to infidelity facing the main character and his wife were trivial in comparison and devalued the whole book.
He read it very well and the accents were clear without being overdone. He did not have much to work with in terms of bringing out emotional depths in the story but what there was he did well.
Only just. I cannot imagine listening to it again.
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