The Aftermath

Paperback | May 7, 2013

byRhidian Brook

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Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund.
 
But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
 
The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires and the transformative power of forgiveness.

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Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only r...

Rhidian Brook is an award-winning writer of fiction, television and film. His debut novel, The Testimony of Taliesin Jones, won three prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award, and was made into a film. His numerous stories have appeared in Paris Review and New Statesman, and he has written for the Observer, the Guardian and the Dail...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.17 × 6.27 × 0.9 inPublished:May 7, 2013Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307361047

ISBN - 13:9780307361042

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Customer Reviews of The Aftermath

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hamburg Revival after the Fire Storm Well written...good command of appropriate words to enhance the scene. Just enough sexual encounters to make you want to see what happens next.
Date published: 2014-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perspective of task to reconstruct. Wonderful story, beautifully told. Provides an insight into life after the devastation of war and it's lasting effect on people, both defeated and conquerers. So glad I originally read the positive review of this book. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2014-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perspective of task to reconstruct. Far more than a well-researched, absorbing piece of historical fiction, "The Aftermath" is a subtle investigation of the tangled relationships between conquerors and conquered, with a definite reference to the concept of the Stockholm Syndrome, through which one comes to make common cause with those who otherwise should be enemies, as one is forced to live in close proximity to them under unusual conditions. Lewis, the husband, is the military overseer of British administration in Hamburg after the end of the second world war. He conducts himself with rare gentleness and sympathy towards the conquered populace, to the point where his approach raises questions about his loyalty to Britain among his superiors. Rachel, the wife, grieving the loss of one of her sons to the German bombing of Britain during the war, is drawn into a relationship. which seems to be completely at odds with her feelings, with the German former owner of the villa which has been requisitioned as the Morgans' residence. The unfolding of events during the Morgans' stay in Hamburg defies the expectations one would have of the behaviour of people placed in such circumstances, and the very human reactions of the main characters point to the potential for universal goodness that lurks beneath the surface of us all. What would seem to be a grim portrayal of human ambiguity becomes a minor hymn of praise to the ability of people to rise above their backgrounds and prejudices. As historical fiction, the depiction of the devastation of Hamburg and environs as a result of Allied bombing, and the desperate condition of the German survivors in the region, provide important reminders of how deeply the German population itself suffered as a result of the war. This is an enthralling read, and a powerful emotional experience.
Date published: 2013-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perspective of task to reconstruct. I enjoyed reading this book. The story took place in a period of time after World War II that I haven't read before. This is the first book by this author that I have read. A very interesting story.
Date published: 2013-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting historical period Great novel about an historical period we don't really read much about, if at all. Amazing use of language, I haven't had to refer to a dictionary so often. Very well written. Too short, unfortunately!
Date published: 2013-08-19

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Editorial Reviews

“The Aftermath is an entertaining blend of romance, history and suspense, one to which Brook’s style is perfectly suited: it’s sturdy, stripped down with just the right amount of gnarled beauty poking through the cracks.” —Emily Donaldson, Toronto Star “Profoundly moving…. Brook’s beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt and forgiveness…. The meticulous integrity of Brook’s prose style builds a narrative of chastened humans, ending less in tragedy than in a kind of redemptive inertia—turning back from the brink, taking time to mourn.” —The Independent  “Excellent…. A captivating tale not only of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance…. [The] main plot strand is thoroughly engaging…. However, Brook weaves around it a number of masterly subplots peopled by equally flawed and intriguing characters…. Brook is as sure-footed at unfolding an extramarital affair behind ornate doors as he is at portraying a hardscrabble fight for survival among the ‘apocalyptic architecture’ on the streets…. As loyalties are tested and consciences are pricked The Aftermath does what all good novels do: it poses many complex questions and resists neat, topped-and-tailed answers.” —Literary Review “Brook creates a pitiful and nuanced portrait of the pointless violence and cruelty of war, in which distinctions between the good guys and the bad are sometimes disturbingly blurred…. The pleasures of The Aftermath…[lie] in watching the characters unfurl as, each in their own way, they deal with what war has cost them…. An absorbing, readable tale and a rare corrective to the jingoistic, sentimental or thrillerish tone of so many modern novels of this period…. The Aftermath is a reflective act of compassionate but tough-minded observation. Offering sufficient detail to create a post-war mood, yet never wallowing in vintage trappings, this is a stylish, heart-searching and convincing story that by refusing to peddle clichés and received wisdom, memorably refashions this period.” —Sunday Herald “Rhidian Brook takes a piece of history I thought I knew well and breaks it open; The Aftermath is a compelling, surprising and moving novel.” —Sadie Jones “Rhidian Brook’s arresting novel brings vividly to life a little-told aspect of World War II: its aftermath. His story—energetically and authoritatively told—is unsettling and compelling, suffused with suffering and, mercifully, some hope.” —Claire Messud“A moving, always enthralling journey into the dark and light of history. Rhidian Brook has written a brilliant novel.” —Joseph O’Neill