1946, post-World War II, Hamburg: While thousands wander the rubble, lost and homeless, Colonel Lewis Morgan, charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the denazification of its defeated people, is stationed in a grand house on the River Elbe. He is awaiting the arrival of his wife, Rachael - still grieving for their eldest son - and their only surviving son, Edmund. But rather than force the owners of the house, a German widower and his rebellious daughter, out onto the streets, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged atmosphere, both parents and children will be forced to confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal, to their deepest desires, their fiercest loyalties, and the transforming power of forgiveness.
This courageous new novel from award-winning author Rhidian Brook tells an emotionally riveting story of two families, one house, and love grown from hate.
©2013 Rhidian Brook (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Rhidian Brook's arresting novel brings vividly to life a little-told aspect of World War II: its aftermath. His story - energetically and authoritatively told - is unsettling and compelling, suffused with suffering and, mercifully, some hope." (Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs)
"Rhidian Brook takes a piece of history I thought I knew well and breaks it open; The Aftermath is a compelling, surprising, and moving novel." (Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests)
i like to read. i like to listen.
wow. this story really makes you think. about humanity, and war and nationality and morals..and right and wrong.
the setting is post World War 2 Hamburg...where British soldiers are requisitioning German homes while they attempt to tear down and rebuild the city. a British Colonel sets his family and home up alongside the previous German occupants (and rightful owners of the property) instead of sending them to the camps.
this sets off a series of relationships and events that don't really surprise the reader, but definitely made me think about situations and experiences...wondering how i'd behave in each of the subsequent character's places.
i think the characters were a bit one dimensional...but i honestly liked the story enough that it didn't matter all that much. i think this would make a great film...with all the intrigue and deception and secrets going on inside the house...and all the devastation and disagreement going on outside the house.
the real clincher that makes this story one that i didn't want to stop listening to, of course, was the moral ambiguity going on in both places...in the ranks of the military, in the marriages and familial relationships of the characters, on almost every page of this novel. it was an interesting way to view this time period...not coming from war or peace or good and evil..but from a moral perspective. it's a quick and solid listen.
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