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
Academic and author of books on 19th-20th century history & literature.
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.
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.
No, but he was perfect for the job. All the characters were perfectly distinguishable and well-realised.
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.
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.
They all were
Simply a terrific book to listen to. Jot brings the characters to life.
This one I rank in my top 5 collection.
You cannot have one favourite character in this book. You get so attached to Paulus, Otto, Zilka and Dagmar.
his accents are brilliant wich helps you distinguish wich character is wich.
2 Brothers together while worlds fall apart.
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.
Love Books and listen while working out and on the way to and from work
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
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