Saturday, August 16, 2014

ARC review: The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

Desperate to escape the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met; it is a marriage of convenience that promises 'honeymoon' leave for him and a pension for her should he die on the front. With ten days' leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin; both are surprised by the attraction that develops between them.

When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into the Nazi party hierarchy, wedding herself, her young husband and their unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina, ordinary people stained with their small share of an extraordinary guilt, find their simple dream of family increasingly hard to hold on to...

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion:

Holy buckets. This novel turned my heart inside out. I'm not sure if(even with my WWII obsession) that I've ever read a novel from the perspective of the family of a Nazi soldier.

I have to admit that, as I expected, most of these characters seemed to be conceited assholes. However, they were(mostly) likeable assholes. Yes, yes-likeable assholes exist. Sigh.

This was a gritty and well written read. I read it in a single sitting. The ending is not what the reader would hope, but seemed realistic and fitting, if desperately sad.


4 stars

Worth staying up all night to read?


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