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El buen alemán (original 2001; edition 2006)
by Joseph Kanon (Author)
The Good German by Joseph Kanon (2001)
Best Spy Fiction (88)
Carole's List (422)
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Characters may be good in one respect, but in other areas of their lives or in some of their actions they are questionable. Unless they're Russian; there are no good Russians in this novel. Very atmospheric--Kanon made me feel like I was walking in the destruction and desolation of bombed-out Berlin.
Journalist in Berlin in immediate aftermath - really early days of rubble and references to feelings of Germans just emerging from the chaos. Convoluted plot but I stuck with it cos of atmosphere created.
A reporter arrives in Berlin in the months after the Nazis surrendered and, while visiting the Potsdam conference, he discovers the body of an American solider who had been shot with an American bullet. The book provides fascinating glimpse at what Berlin was like immediately after the war. it also introduces an interesting and diverse cast of characters. Particularly entertaining is the way the clues dribble out. Despite these positive aspects, the writing is somewhat flat for my taste.
The story of Berlin in 1945 during the Potsdam Conference. This was an audio book I listened to and while the reader was good, the sentences were short and clipped. Problems with this book: lines not attributed to a speaker, too many characters to keep track of, improbable escape scenes and too long! Perhaps some of the aforementioned problems would have been solved had I read a hard copy. There is a movie of this out starring George Clooney--it also did not get good reviews so not sure if I'm going to watch or not!
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Wikipedia in English (1)
Jake Geismar cut his teeth as a foreign correspondent in pre-war Berlin. When he returns in 1945 to cover the Potsdam conference he finds the city unrecognisable - streets have vanished beneath the rubble, familiar landmarks truncated by high explosive. But amongst the ruins Berliners survive, including some he knew and, miraculously, his lost love, Lena. But in the way she would not leave with him before the war, Lena won't join him now without finding her husband and Emil has disappeared from the safe care of the Americans who, turning a blind eye to his links with Hitler, want his expertise as a rocket designer for themselves. Trawling through the shambles of the city, through the illegal night clubs and the thriving black market, Jake discovers that the twilight war of intrigue between west and east has already begun and that he could quite easily be one of its first casualties. This is a novel of war, an action thriller, a tale of raw emotion and survival. Above all it is a tour de force of the triumph of humanity over man's depravity.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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The author combines elements of mystery, romance, and history into a compelling story with well-developed characters. It explores ethical questions of whether involvement with the Nazis will result in punishment or exoneration. Should scientists get a free pass because they continue to be useful? The main plot and sub-plots are woven together expertly. The novel conveys a strong sense of place. I could picture the bombed-out rubble of Berlin. As in many mysteries, some of the key pieces of information are delivered through plot devices.
I had not previously joined the audiobook trend, but when I found myself facing a long drive, I decided to try it. I came across this one at my local library. The audiobook reader, Stanley Tucci, does an excellent job of modulating his voice and creating realistic differentiated accents to render the various German, American, and Russian characters of both sexes. It kept us entertained while driving for over seven hours. Recommended to fans of historical fiction or mysteries, especially of the period surrounding WWII. Contains language, sex, and violence. ( )