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The Aftermath Hardcover – 2 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670921122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921126
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I started writing fiction in my mid-twenties. I was working as a copywriter in advertising when I was struck down with a post-viral condition. For two years I was unable to go back to work. I sat around, read a great deal and, when I had the energy, tried to write stories. A success in the 1991 Time Out short story competition gave me the confidence to write some more. Once well enough I returned to the day job but kept going with the stories and had a number published in various magazines including The New Statesman and Paris Review as well as broadcast on BBC Radio. During this time I started writing a novel that was eventually published as The Testimony Of Taliesin Jones. The novel won three prizes including the 1997 Somerset Maugham Award and, a couple of years later, was made into a film starring Jonathan Pryce. Buoyed by this I wrote a second novel, Jesus And The Adman, published in 1999, and began to have thoughts of giving up the day job to write fiction full time.

In 2002 I tried my hand at writing screenplays and in 2004 BBC Drama commissioned me to write a single film - Mr Harvey Lights A Candle - that was broadcast the following year and starred Timothy Spall. I wrote for two seasons of Silent Witness and was just settling down to the new day job when I was asked to write a book about the Aids pandemic for the Salvation Army. I agreed and ended up making a 9-month journey, with my wife and two children, to Africa, India and China. Whilst we travelled I did broadcasts for the BBC World Service and Radio 4's Thought For The Day - to which I had been a regular contributor since 2001. The book describing that journey - More Than Eyes Can See - was published in 2007. In 2009 I wrote a feature - Africa United - which went on general release in October 2010.

A year later I pitched a story that was based on my grandfather's experiences in post war Germany to Ridley Scott's film company and a script was commissioned. But I'd always wanted to write it as a novel so, whilst writing the screenplay, I started writing the book. I wrote fifty pages, showed them to my agent, and she got a publishing deal from Penguin. I spent the next 18 months writing the rest and The Aftermath was published in the UK this summer. It is, so far, being translated in 21 languages.

For more information on Rhidian Brook or The Aftermath, visit his website at or like the Facebook fan-page - Rhidian Brook.

Product Description


Masterly ... the story develops with many a deft twist ... Brook wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation, and his vignettes of war-ravaged Hamburg are superb (Mail on Sunday, Novel of the Week)

Brook's profoundly moving...beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt and forgiveness...the meticulous integrity of his prose builds a narrative of chastened humans turning back from the brink (Independent)

Superb. A painfully clear portrait of Germany in defeat, conjuring surprise after surprise as it shows how the forces of politics and history penetrate even the most intimate moments of its characters' emotional lives. (Guardian)

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, author of The Outcast)

A moving, always enthralling journey ... Rhidian Brook has written a brilliant novel (Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland)

Brook is wonderful at evoking the atmosphere of this forgotten time...with a spareness matched to the harshness of that winter. There is much to think about here (The Times)

A captivating take not only of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance... The Aftermath is full of illicit love - for an erstwhile enemy, for a country and its overthrown regime - and as loyalties are tested and consciences are prickled it does what all good novels should do: it poses many complex questions and resists neat, topped-and-tailed answers (Literary Review)

Arresting, unsettling and compelling; suffused with suffering and hope (Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children)

An extraordinary read (Daily Mail)

Stylish, heart-searching and convincing (Herald)

About the Author

Rhidian Brook is an award-winning writer of fiction, television drama and film. His first novel The Testimony of Taliesin Jones won several prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including the Paris Review, New Statesman and Time Out, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He is also a regular contributor to 'Thought For The Day' on the Today programme.

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4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susman VINE VOICE on 7 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To begin with a little bit of background against which the narrative is set. So the Allies have finally beaten the `Nazi War Machine'. At terrible cost to both sides, and after two World Wars with Germany the winning powers decide that enough is enough and never again. Firstly there is the implantation of `Denazification', and secondly the splitting up of Germany into occupation zones. With each zone allocated to an Allied power. The process of denazification in Germany was attempted through a series of orders issued by the Allied Control Council, whose HQ was in Berlin, beginning in January 1946. It meant that specific people and groups, which were identified, were to be processed by judicial measures. It is important to note that while all the occupying forces had agreed on the enterprise, in reality the approaches used for denazification and the `zeal' with which it was implemented differed between the occupation zones.

The framework, in part, for the story is the author's grandfather's own experiences carrying out his duties in post war Germany. The novel takes place a year after the end of the Second World War. In Hamburg's British Occupied Zone, some years previously the Allied air force had unleashed bombing in the region to such a degree, it was later referred to as the "the Hiroshima of Germany".

Our protagonist Col. Lewis Morgan has been allocated to manage the rebuilding and denazification within the British-controlled district.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Stuart on 8 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rhidian Brook perfectly captures life in the British Zone of Germany in 1946, when members of the Control Commission were able to be joined by their families and largely move into large houses requisitioned from their German owners. I know because I was there - as an eight year old. Mr Brook bases his story on the true experiences of his grandfather, who served in the CCG, as my father did.
It covers the dilemmas of relationships between the occupying authorities and the German population. Had they been Nazis? (A term that even today Germans never use. Always "National Socialists")
And there was the relationship between those British officials and the wives and children they had hardly seen during the war years.
I still have vivid memories of the voyage to Cuxhaven and the mouth opening horror of seeing the ruins of Hamburg as we went by train down to equally ruined Cologne, and then to Aachen, to live for the next nine years in a stunning house built by a Bauhaus architect - who of course had to live elsewhere (but was paid rent).
In the Aftermath Col. Lewis invites the others of a large villa overlooking the Elbe, to share part of the house he takes over. I remember visiting a school friend in one of those very houses.
Mr Brook was not born until 16 years after VE Day but he writes as if he was in Hamburg in 1946. A fascinating book and a remarkable achievement. I think it ranks with The Reader as the best portrayal of Germany at that period.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It is 1946 and the war has ended, but is far from over. Colonel Lewis Morgan is one of the British occupation force, who are attempting to rebuild the ruined city and discover which members of the defeated population were members of the Nazi party. When a house is requisitioned for him and his family, Lewis makes the unusual choice not to send the German widower and his daughter away, but offers to share the property with them. However, his attempts to be supportive are resented on all sides. Herr Stefan Lubert, whose house it is, is grateful for the kindness, although understandably resentful of his forced deference. His fifteen year old daughter Freda still harbours a grudge against the conquerors she holds responsible for the death of her mother. On the British side, Lewis is soon to be joined by his wife, Rachael and son Edmund. Rachael has become used to being alone and finds it hard to readjust to being part of a couple again and is still mourning for her eldest son, Michael, who was also killed in the war.

The author cleverly uses the ruined city of Hamburg as a character in its own right - creating an atmosphere of mistrust and upheaval among the debris. Groups of orphaned children run wild; starving, ragged and feral, while adults are roped into removing the rubble for food rations. Meanwhile, the British are too often keen on finding guilt in the German people, who long to simply put the war behind them and get on with their lives. Their heavy handed interrogations to establish 'guilt', their plundering of a city left in ruins, and complaints about befriending the enemy, mean that Lewis ('of Hamburg') is soon confronting suspicion on all sides for his support of the German people. Can Lewis make his wife understand that Germans are no longer the enemy?
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Godec on 9 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a historically accurate and, at times, heartbreakingly honest story of a time that is usually ignored - the immediate aftermath of the Second World War when the Allied Forces undertook the reconstruction of Germany. The novel tells the story of one British officer who is attempting his task with both honour and integrity but who seems to be isolated from other Allied forced, his fellow officers and even his own wife, who all have their own agendas. The use of multiple points of view allow us to share the experiences of his wife, who is too caught up in her grief at the death of their eldest son to even attempt to understand his task, his youngest son, who is too young to understand the complexities of the world he inhabits, and of Lewis himself, who can see only too clearly the difficulties he faces to ever begin to express his own feeelings The use of several sub-plots are threads that are woven together to create a picture of a world where old certainties have been shattered and no new ones yet in place. A "must read" novel for anyone interested in the modern world. Aftermath is an honest and intelligent work, beautifully written and constructed which grips our interest throughout.
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