Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


No title

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
151647,891 (3.5)None

Work details

Restitution by Eliza Graham



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

The scale of this book is immense - over eighty years of European history covered, and several characters followed as their lives are blown off course by war. I found it oddly contradictory: I like to read informative fiction, and here was a whole array of historical events - from the effects of the Versailles Treaty through Nazi Germany and a gulag or two - and yet I didn't feel as if I learned much; instead it felt as though I needed to go away and research the events first so I could understand what was going on. Also, so much of the plot rests on emotional connections between the characters, and yet I didn't feel any such connection with them myself, the daytime-TV style final chapters leaving me resolutely dry-eyed. And though the book moves quickly, in order to fit everything in, it doesn't bring with it the rollercoaster feeling you get from a fast moving story, instead it feels as if events are being sketched too quickly for you ever to get a grip on them.

All the way through we are whisked backwards and forwards in time and told little snippets of the story. This can be an effective way of storytelling, but in this case it left me disorientated as each chapter raised more questions than it answered, and sent off little shoots which might have resulted in interesting plot developments, but which were often not mentioned again. Throughout, I found myself thinking less would have been more, in the sense that concentrating on just one of the plot elements (eg Gregor's experiences in Poland and the Soviet Union) would have made a great story on their own. At one point, four of the characters find themselves in a tense standoff overnight in a house, complex connections between them having established in previous chapters, and I wondered if this was what the book had been leading up to - maybe the rest of the story would be taken up with the events of that night, the sort of thing you could run as a stage play in front of a live audience. I wasn't unhappy at the prospect, but I was wrong - whilst this scene might be the focal point of the novel, it is over quite quickly as with most other scenes, and the characters go haring off into their futures at breakneck pace.

There were some nicely described passages (in particular I found myself re-reading the bit where Gregor considers a future in London several times for reasons that are unclear), and to its credit it covers the part of Austria that became part of Italy after World War I. Watching the tennis recently I heard the commentator say of a player: 'he comes from the German speaking part of Italy' and was sure he must have made a mistake. But he was right - it's covered right here. But all in all, it was a book I was relieved to get to the end of; like being dragged through a series of muddy puddles with your foot tangled in a stirrup, you're glad when the horse finally stops. ( )
  jayne_charles | Oct 18, 2015 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230741886, Paperback)

February 1945. Europe is in ruins and the Red Army is searing its way across Germany's eastern marches, revenging itself upon a petrified population. The war is over, but for some the fight for survival is only just beginning.

Alix, the aristocratic daughter of a German resistance fighter, is alone and desperate to flee before the Reds come. But when a ferocious snowstorm descends she must return to the shelter of her abandoned ancestral home. There, she is shocked to find her childhood sweetheart Gregor. As old passions are rekindled, a couple break into the house to hide—the man, dressed in Gestapo uniform, is a stranger, but his companion is altogether more familiar. By morning, the blizzard has died down but the Reds are back. The woman and her Nazi escort are dead, and Gregor has vanished. Alone and terrified, Alix runs for her life, and embarks upon an extraordinary and heartbreaking journey. It will take 60 years and the fall of another empire—Communism—before the riddles of that fateful night can be deciphered. Restitution is a memorable novel about love and betrayal, hatred and heroism—a reminder that, even in the worst of times, the most courageous acts of kindness are possible.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:20 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

February 1945. Europe is in ruins and the Red Army is searing its way across Germany's eastern marches, revenging itself upon a petrified population. The war is over, but for some the fight for survival is only just beginning.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

LibraryThing Author

Eliza Graham is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
9 wanted1 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.5)
1 1
3 1
4 1
4.5 1
5 1


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,839,913 books! | Top bar: Always visible