The Aftermath

Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
4 out of 5 stars (167 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

“Brook’s masterly novel... wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation, and his vignettes of war-ravaged Hamburg are superb.” (The Mail on Sunday)

“Brook’s beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt, and forgiveness... Profoundly moving.” (The Independent)

“Reading The Aftermath, one can’t help but wonder if this is the sort of literary memorialization (albeit from a British author) that Sebald might have wished for.” (Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

thought provoking novel about morals and war

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Post WW II Occupied Germany

To me this was slow story with characters that were so flat and undeveloped it was difficult to feel any connection with anyone. Occasionally a minor support character would spark and engage for a bit only to quickly fizzle out and disappear. A dire and dark time is captured but a human face is needed to make this book work for me. Dry, distant, clinical and disappointing

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wziting for the movie

Such a good book. All the main characters were good people trying to do there best after war. I felt for all of them. Future movie just cast will be high on my list to see.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Left Hanging...

Not crazy about the ending. First time I'm expecting the movie to be different than the book. Overall, I loved the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Yes and No

I gave it 5 stars because I love this genre and era. The narrator was excellent. The only thing I disliked was the ending. If it has a sequel yet to be written and/or published, then it most definitely deserve an unblemished 5 stars ✨

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A real page turner

This book is a must read for every lover of historical fiction. it's beautifully written and so interesting that I could barely stop listening to it. My only complaint was the abundance of German names which were quite confusing when you aren't fluent in that language. But overall, it's a story filled with despair, grief, romance and hope.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Perspective - Good Read/Listen

I’ve read numerous WWII books in the past year or so. This book is different in that it focuses on its title, The Aftermath. It was educational in that I never learned as much about rebuilding Germany. But, the focus was thoughtful, seeing the perspective of both “sides.” At first I wasn’t sure I liked the narrator, but it was a rush to judgment. He grew on me and did a good job. I think I’d listened to too many women right before this book. Extremely talented women. Yet, Mr. Pugh did this book justice. His accents were very good and he didn’t try to do ridiculous voices for women. I’d recommend this to those who like historical fiction and are looking for some additional views about WWII.

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a good read

very emotional. gave the view points of winners, losers and the forgotten children. yes it had the romantic parts but the heart tugging too.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Where is the ending?

Overall I liked this book but was disappointed with the ending. Even if there may be a sequel, the author left the reader hanging. Several story lines were never fully developed and the book fell apart in the last few chapters.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Stunde 0 - wonderful book

I have family coming from Germany, so I also read it out of historical interest. It is a wonderful story set at the beginning of a new time for Germany. Despite all the horrible things happened during The Nazi regime, the story in this book helped my beliefs into the good of humanity. A Wonderful written novel, which keeps you wanting to learn more about the characters and the setting in Germany right after WW2 makes it even more interesting.