Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Book review - The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert
Modern fiction, 2001
This is three stories of three people affected by World War II. First is Helmut, a young German in Berlin at the start of the war who is unable to join the army because of a disability and who becomes a photographer. Then there is Lore, a young girl at the end of the war whose Nazi parents are taken away by the Allies and who struggles across a war-torn Germany to her grandmother. Then there is Michael, a more modern-day German who can't resolve his memory of a loving grandfather with the SS killer he might have been.
What did I think?
This is the first book I read for my new book group, and it's a tough one. I don't think you could say it's a likeable book, but it's a very moving and important one. The sort of book I think everyone should read. It gives a different insight into WWII and the Nazi atrocities, and really makes you think about how things were. There's no condemnation, just matter of fact writing. This is a tale (or tales) of normal people under extraordinary circumstances. It's very easy to read too, which perhaps reinforces the message.
Would I recommend?
Yes. Like I said, it's an important book.
Would I read again?
No. I don't need to. This is the sort of book whose message stays with you. I won't forget this one.
In spite of the fact that I won't read this again, it's brilliantly written and deserves a 4.5 out of 5.