Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review-The German Woman

Paul Griner,

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
2009, $25.00, hc, 320pp.

The German Woman is the story of an English woman, Kate Zwieg, a trained nurse who is married to a German surgeon, Horst Zweig. It is 1919 during WW1 and together they work serving injured soldiers from the battles in East Prussia. Fast forward twenty-five years and Kate is now in London, the summer of 1944, considered the summer that never was. It is now WWII, bombings, air-raids, skeletal framework of once magnificent structures and massive casualties are part of every day life. Kate, is now widowed, when she meets Claus at a political rally. The speaker at the gathering is spewing propaganda falsities to a crowd of onlookers. Kate is incensed by the disinformation and steps forward with a barrage of razor sharp barbs. Claus, or rather Charles, an exiled American with German heritage, works making propaganda films for the Ministry of Information. He is in the crowd and notices Kate, and is attracted to her spirit and he introduces himself to her. Claus is also happens to be a spy supplying valuable information to the German military, although sometimes not as accurate as it should be. He knows his life depends on secrecy and trusting no one, but he meets Kate and romance turns to unexpected love. At some point, he becomes suspicious of Kate and his duality of loyalty will rock his perspicacious resolve. Kate is almost a silent, passive participant as the action is seen through Claus and his struggle.
Paul Griner shows a natural talent of subterfuge as he carefully creates a complex mask of mirrors causing a magicians allusion for the audience to solve. There are passages of beautiful lyrical poetic prose that could fit a musical score.


Sarah at SmallWorld said...

Sounds fantastic. I am going to have to add this one!

wisteria said...

Small World...I think you will like it.

The Bookworm said...

You do make this sound like a great read.
'There are passages of beautiful lyrical poetic prose that could fit a musical score.'

I always enjoy your well written reviews.

wisteria said...

Naida...Thank you! You always make me blush.
But, you make me smile too.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This one looks terrific. I need to add it to my list.

Literary Feline said...

This does sound interesting! I will have to look for this one. Thanks for the great review, Donna.

The Book Resort said...

"He knows his life depends on secrecy and trusting no one" really speaks volumes. Claus seems like a fascinating character!

Iliana said...

Great review Wisteria! I first heard of this one over at Matt's blog but am glad to hear you've also enjoyed it. Now it's a must read :)

Anna said...

We posted your review on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

Thanks for the recommendation--I finally read it and really liked it.