Living Underground by Ruth WalkerLiving Underground by Ruth Walker

Living Underground

byRuth Walker

Paperback | August 15, 2012

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A woman's lover from her youth resurfaces in her adult life, and she is drawn into the turmoil surrounding disturbing accusations about his Nazi past. From pre WWI Dresden, Germany to contemporary urban Toronto, the dual point of view narrative crosses continents and moves through time as it explores the ambiguity of human emotion, how our natures can embody both the ideals and delights of love alongside the most base and dispassionate sensibilities.

Ruth E. Walker's first submission won Canadian Living magazine's 1996 short story contest. Since then, her fiction and poetry have appeared in Canadian publications such as Geist and Prairie Fire, in the U.S. in the Utne Reader Online and Literary Mama, and in the U.K. in Chapman and Rain Dog. She is a founding editor (1999-2007) for t...
Title:Living UndergroundFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6.05 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2012Publisher:Seraphim EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:192707908X

ISBN - 13:9781927079089


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A nourishing page-turner I read this book over a weekend - normally I'm a slower reader. But I found it to be quite a page-turner. Its an engaging story, deftly told. At the same time it goes deeply into history and the inner worlds of its characters. Indeed, those characters stay with you and are continuing to stay with me a day after I finished the book. I found that I read a few chapters and then put it down to let everything sink in...but then was hungry to pick it up again. I recommend this book and hope it gets a wide readership. (FYI, I bought my copy at the World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto.)
Date published: 2012-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Impact of the Past Living Underground is a thoughtful examination of the impact of the past, especially the carefully guarded past, on individuals and communities. Although there are many books relating to the Holocaust, Ruth Walker's is written with a uniquely Canadian perspective. She addresses the phenomenon of Nazi war criminals in Canada while exploring complicated family and personal relationships. Walker is a great storyteller. She carefully leads readers from Germany to Canada and back again, shifting from WWII to the 1960s to a time that feels closer to the present day. The transformative potential of music and the impact of power struggles are recurring themes. Much of the book is experienced through the eyes of Sheila Martin, the main character, whose journey to self-understanding and acceptance seems to just begin as the novel ends.
Date published: 2012-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Story - This book will burrow into your heart with an uncontrollable velocity This is a beautiful book. I can't remember the last time a story had such a powerful impact on my day-to-day life. No matter what I was doing throughout my day, I had Sheila and Sigmund on my mind. I felt so emotional for those two weeks, like I was always one step away from tears. I actually had to give myself some time before I could get my thoughts down on paper. Only a handful of times in a reader's life do they come into contact with a book that causes such a rift in their sense of reality. Living Underground is one of those books for me. It left me breathless at every turn. Sheila Martin's childhood is anything but wondrous. When a new tenant moves into her mother's basement apartment, Sheila is given the maid duties of keeping the apartment clean. Little by little, a communication is created between the tenant, Sigmund Maier, and Sheila. It begins when Sheila loses herself in her radio station one day, while going through her cleaning duties. Soon Sigmund is leaving music out for Sheila to discover and Sheila feels herself opening up to a whole new world she didn't even know existed. Ms. Walker creates such a vivid picture of this unlikely couple and how they become connected--first as mentor and student, and then as more. The reader will delight in the way Walker seamlessly sews beautiful music into the exquisite and tightly woven fabric of this wondrous story. Sheila's eye-opening to the world of opera and classical music and the finer things she would never have otherwise been exposed to is soul-lifting. The reader is lifted with her, and almost grateful for Sigmund's presence in her young life. And such a proper, well-put-together gentleman is Sigmund...the real key to making this story sing was Walker's ability to make the reader believe in Sigmund Maier and his essential goodness. Living Underground spans decades. The reader is taken along to Sigmund's childhood in Dresden, Germany, where an even stronger connection to this character is made. We see inside the world in which he grew up--a despicable grandfather, a mother who bends to her father's will and later finds an admirable strength and independence. From there, the reader steps into the adult life of Sheila. She is a wonderful and powerful woman. She is in the midst of building a music store empire (a product of Sigmund's influence on her earlier life), but her personal life seems to be in a state of chaos. Then the reader is taken into the dark world of suspicion and doubt. Could the man who gave the young Sheila a thread of hope when she needed it most...could he possibly be the same man as the monster being accused of heinous war crimes in Nazi Germany? From the moment you pick up Living Underground, you will be enthralled. It burrows into your heart with a powerful and uncontrollable velocity...and it stays there not just until you reach the end of the story, but long long after you have reluctantly put it down. A book like this comes along every once in a blue moon. I guarantee you, once you get to the end you will want to embrace it. It's that kind of book. In my opinion, Ruth E. Walker has a well-deserved masterpiece on her hands. EXPECTATION: I could NOT have expected what would happen to me as I read this book. To give you an example--At one point, my wife walked into our family room to find me in pieces. She was a bit skeptical as to how a book could hit somebody so powerfully. I read about 20 pages out loud to her. When I was finished, I looked over at her...and found her in pieces. I'm not exaggerating when I say this story got inside me. Even knowing Walker's ability to write beautiful prose and poetry--even knowing her mastery of the language and the subtlety of her pen--I was not expecting this. You can't expect a book like this one. You can love it, once you find it...but you can't expect it. GET THIS BOOK!
Date published: 2012-09-18