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Two Brothers | [Ben Elton]

Two Brothers

Berlin 1920: Two babies are born. Two brothers. United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood. As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice.... Which one of them will survive? Ben Elton's most personal novel to date, Two Brothers transports the reader to the time of history's darkest hour.
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Publisher's Summary

Berlin 1920

Two babies are born. Two brothers. United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood. As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice....

Which one of them will survive? Ben Elton's most personal novel to date, Two Brothers transports the listener to the time of history's darkest hour.

©2012 Ben Elton (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

What Members Say

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4.5 (33 )
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4.6 (29 )
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  •  
    Peter Morton 06-23-15 Member Since 2014

    Academic and author of books on 19th-20th century history & literature.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Grim Grim Grim"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I certainly would. I'd say that Elton is in no sense a 'literary' artist but to get an idea of what it was like to be a Berlin Jew as the Nazis tightened the vice you could hardly do better than this.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's absolutely gripping. I'm a historian and well acquainted with the period in Europe 1920-1940, and I've read many books about the rise of Fascism and the Holocaust. However, even the best historian has to deal in generalities. A good novelist/storyteller like Elton gives you the reality like what it really meant to be forced to lick the pavement by a gang of psychopathic SA thugs. There are many such moments in this book. Some of it reminded me of '1984' though in this case everything is factual & horribly realistic, made worse by Elton's gift for black humour, which he gives especially to Wolfgang. The book is very long but I didn't want it to end and I rationed my listening.


    Have you listened to any of Jot Davies’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he was perfect for the job. All the characters were perfectly distinguishable and well-realised.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many such moments, but I admired the way Elton conveys the very common response of the Jews of Berlin that they simply couldn't believe that the plan of the Nazis was genocide from the start. Inevitably I reflected frequently how I would have reacted.


    Any additional comments?

    I found the 'love' scenes between Dagmar and the brothers a bit tiresome and the analysis of their feelings for the 'Jewish princess' repetitive. Actually some quite unnecessary repetition is a weakness of Elton's style. Occasionally the plot strains the reader's credulity (eg when Otto arrives at the burning house just as Dagmar is pushing up the window to escape) but this is not often.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Sydney, Australia 08-15-13
    Harry Sydney, Australia 08-15-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Simply Excellent"
    Would you listen to Two Brothers again? Why?

    Maybe


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    They all were


    Which character – as performed by Jot Davies – was your favorite?

    Wolfgang


    Who was the most memorable character of Two Brothers and why?

    Paulis


    Any additional comments?

    Simply a terrific book to listen to. Jot brings the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Errol Pretoria, South Africa 07-25-13
    Errol Pretoria, South Africa 07-25-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    8
    2
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    "THE BEST READ THIS YEAR"
    Where does Two Brothers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This one I rank in my top 5 collection.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    You cannot have one favourite character in this book. You get so attached to Paulus, Otto, Zilka and Dagmar.


    What does Jot Davies bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    his accents are brilliant wich helps you distinguish wich character is wich.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    2 Brothers together while worlds fall apart.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't get emotional in books until I read this one. I find myself pondering over it for days. It really plucked at my emotional heart strings. Thank you for a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Carole Park, Australia 01-07-13
    Jan Carole Park, Australia 01-07-13 Listener Since 2006

    Love Books and listen while working out and on the way to and from work

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    77
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    "as good as The First Casualty"

    I find Ben's historic novels fascinating. This is well written as well as a great story (i was born in Germany but move away 30 years ago and therefore I could be a bit biased to the story).

    The main characters might be a bit 1 dimensional but it seems to work for the story and you don't notice it unless one sits back to analyse the story (like when writing a review).

    If you like his previous book about WW1 then you will love this one. If you have not read that just don't expect black adder and you will get a lot out of it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • M
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    1/19/13
    Overall
    "Briliant!"

    This is an astonishingly good book: wonderfully written, craftily crafted and beautifully brutal. Firstly, that whole interwar period of the 1920's and 30's (especially in Germany) has always been a bit of a black hole for me, as history lessons in school were dominated by the World Wars, but here Ben Elton brings the Weimar Republic to life, with its extremes of poverty, decadence, violence and jazz. Secondly, it's also always been incomprehensible to me how the German public allowed the 'Final Solution' to actually happen, but as Ben Elton beautifully lays out here, it was a long, gradual, poisoning process that the nascent Nazi party put at the heart of its insane manifesto, and they took their time: small, ‘reasonable’ steps - all for the good of the nation - to bring it to its horrific conclusion. So the historical setting of the story had me from the very start, and so did the characters.



    The family at the centre of the novel are wonderfully real (and having the twins being born on the same day as the Nazi party was officially formed was a genius touch). The cast of characters in the book range across the spectrum of classes in society yet everyone is drawn naturally and believably; they’re mostly people just caught up in the gale of the world, getting by as best as they can - none more so than the 4 children whose story we follow most closely. And the city too is used to reflect the changes each new era brings about: it brightens and comes to life in the boom years, then ages and darkens as Hitler’s spells wear off.



    The plot is perfectly structured; it gives hints of things to come, while at the same time teasing you with false trails and dead-ends; this was that rare book that made me literally laugh out loud and cry in public (especially embarrassing as I’m a postie, and was listening to this on audiobook …).



    So, overall, an incredible book - and beautifully narrated too - that’s going to stay with me for many years to come - thoroughly recommended!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Dean
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
    11/25/12
    Overall
    "An amazing book"

    I would of loved to hear Ben Elton read the book as he has done with prevues titles, although, it is well read.



    As for the book itself, impossible to hit the pause button on. I was up late, sneaking chapters in at work and generally looking for any excuse to plug in my headphones and be transported into the gripping lives of these wonderful characters that I have fallen in love with. I have not been so fully absorbed by a book for a long time. A fantastic experience, one I did not want to end and highly recommended.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Harpinder Singh
    uk
    12/11/12
    Overall
    "won't let you down - 5 OUT OF 5"

    I am a fan of Ben Elton and have read quite a bit of his stuff. I always find it hard to pick a book, always debating, will I enjoy this? So I went for another Ben Elton thinking, he doesn't let me down and he hasn't this time either. As always the writing is quality, easy to follow, engaging, witty, dark, emotive. To top it off the naration (nice job JOT!) is superb. His accents are great (no attempts at poor German accents), and the tone quality of his voice is amazing. This book is, well 5 OUT OF 5! A MUST HAVE

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Linda
    Bridgwater, United Kingdom
    11/28/12
    Overall
    "Keep Going"

    This was a little disjointed at the begining until the characters became established.

    But it is REALLY WORTH continuing. It is a completly different take from the normal on WW2 a different perspective without negating anything.



    A very moving and uplifting novel in one

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jackie
    Preston, United Kingdom
    1/1/13
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    Loved this book totally gripping and Ben Elton writes with such detail. I loved the suspense of not knowing which brother was the narrator- very clever have recommended to everyone.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Folkestone, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best book"
    Where does Two Brothers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    best ever book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Wolf, he was so nice and gentle. Cool jaz man


    What does Jot Davies bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Audio always good you do not have to stop doing stuff. Well read and really took me into the story


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    To long to listen to in one sitting and in spite of the story I did not want it to end.


    Any additional comments?

    You will learn more about the Nazis than you will think possible as well as listening to a great stony with many interesting characters

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lesley
    Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
    12/19/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic read!"

    Loved this book, couldn't put it down & didn't want it to end. 1st Ben Elton I've read!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Perth, United Kingdom
    2/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story a must listen"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Two Brothers to be better than the print version?

    A really great story well told with believable characters and a few twists, dealing perfectly with a subject many find uncomfortable as to how we treat each other - unlike any other Ben elton book


    Which character – as performed by Jot Davies – was your favourite?

    The "twins" and their father


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Josephine
    northchapel, United Kingdom
    12/16/12
    Overall
    "Enthralling"

    I was a little concerned as a review in Telegraph was not that complementary... But dismiss the negatives..this is a very very good novel... I listened and couldn't 'put it down'. It deals with the unpleasant lives of people trapped in a Germany under Nazi control... Those poor Jews ...

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • whistling ex bunker dweller
    2/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I really enjoyed listening to this book and would recommend it to anyone who wanted to hear a good read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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