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Bury the Dead by Peter Carter

Bury the Dead

by Peter Carter

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An unflinching, realistic portrayal of an East Berlin uneasy under communist rule and still haunted by the shadow of the Nazi past. Carter captures the many forces at play in post-war German society, a society shattered along class and age and idealistic barriers, struggling to unify them. The characters of Erika and her family bring this world to life. We follow their story with a growing sense of impending disaster, yet hoping up until the end that all will be well, because we care about these people. The ending is abrupt and terrifying. It is disturbing. Unsettling. Yet Carter could hardly have written it any other way. (This seems to have been marketed as a children's book. At least, it was in that section at the library. The ending of the book, as well as the complexity and the quality of the writing, however, suggest that it might be better appreciated by a young adult or adult audience.)

A few times while I was reading this I found myself distracted by a turn of phrase that didn't seem quite right, or by a word that I expected in the German, which broke the flow a bit, reminding me that the author was British, not German. This is a tribute, actually, to how well he succeeded in creating an authentic atmosphere for the story. A lesser book would not have drawn me in so far. Also notable is the balanced and dispassionate approach he takes in the treatment of communism. He's not writing with an agenda, either to praise or condemn it. This has not always been the approach on this subject, and I was quite pleased to see it.
  spiphany | Oct 8, 2010 |
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Just as fifteen-year-old East Berliner Erika Nordern is preparing for an important track competition, sinister police inquiries and the apperance of a relative believed to be dead indicate that her family has not yet escaped the shadow of long-ago Nazi crimes.… (more)

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