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The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert

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parthianbow
Compulsive Reader
Location: Nr. Bristol, SW England
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The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert

Postby parthianbow » Sat March 3rd, 2012, 9:13 pm

I've owned this book since either 2002 or 2003, and tried to read it twice, never managing to read more than about 15 pages. Something made me keep it, however - perhaps it was the haunting real life photo on the cover. Anyway, serendipity struck yesterday. I picked it up, started reading, was sucked in and read more than 200 pages in one sitting. I finished it this evening in about an hour. This is an extraordinary book, broken into three tales, all of ordinary Germans, the first two of which are set during or just after the war and the last of which is set in 1990s Germany. All three stories are about what it might have been like to live during that time, as a child, an adult and as a serving Waffen SS soldier.

Seiffert's sparse prose initially seems artificial, exaggerated, but as I read on it became richer and deeper, searching out the emotions of shame, guilt, denial and anger, mostly on the part of innocent Germans who had nothing to do with the terrible things done by the Nazis. Ultimately, this is a moving and thoughtful novel. I hesitate to say that I enjoyed it: the subject matter makes that very hard. However, I certainly savoured the book, and I recommend it highly.
Ben Kane
Bestselling author of Roman military fiction.
Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

http://www.benkane.net
Twitter: @benkaneauthor

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parthianbow
Compulsive Reader
Location: Nr. Bristol, SW England
Contact:

Postby parthianbow » Thu March 8th, 2012, 1:26 pm

Has no one else read this? It was shortlisted for the Booker in 2001...
Ben Kane

Bestselling author of Roman military fiction.

Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.



http://www.benkane.net

Twitter: @benkaneauthor

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Justin Swanton
Reader
Location: Durban, South Africa
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Postby Justin Swanton » Fri March 9th, 2012, 4:40 pm

Obviously not - I'd never heard of it until I read your review. I suppose postwar Germany is an obscure period (a bit like late Roman Gaul?) that readers don't go to very often as they do not have a clear prior mental image of it.
Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus.

Author of Centurion's Daughter

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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Fri March 9th, 2012, 8:19 pm

Sorry, Ben - it's one of those books I kept meaning to read but never got to- when it came out I'd recently read quite a bit of depressing WWII fiction and needed a break :)


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