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Unity [Kindle Edition]

Michael Arditti
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'The most intriguing and thought-provoking novel I have read this year' Clare Colvin, Daily Express 'Highly intelligent ... well worth reading' Adam Lively, Sunday Times 'Farce and intensity blend in a deftly layered version of Hitler's legacy ... Michael Arditti ambitiously tackles the theme of human evil in the history of Europe over the past seventy years. He does so with a touch both curiously light and unambiguously earnest' Melissa Benn, Guardian 'Strikingly original in form ... a remarkable, unsettling book ... a compelling fiction' Jane Shilling, The Times 'What is astonishing in Unity is the grim wit and ironic humour which pervades this deadly serious page-turner ... the reader staggers away from this uncompromising drama of ideas shaken and stirred' Patricia Duncker, Independent 'Chilling in the extremity of its import ... hugely ambitious in its scope, Arditti's novel examines the events and personalities that shape moral character' Neil Norman, Financial Times 'Persuasive, sometimes amusing, sometimes chilling ... a true novel with a strong narrative and acute, sympathetic characterisation' Allan Massie, Scotsman 'This remarkable book ... a strange and engrossing story that has powerful resonances with our own era' Ned Denny, Daily Mail 'The purpose ... is to understand the human appetite for gratuitous cruelty ... the final section ... debates this with a Dostoevskian intentness. The author's love for his creations [is] the only possible antidote to the loveless anti-human behaviour that Unity has been courageous enough to confront' Paul Binding, TLS 'A gripping read packed with intrigue, sex, politics and death. What more could you possibly want?' Wayne Clews, Attitude 'A wonderful novel, written with exceptional knowledge and understanding of past and present Germany' --Gitta Sereny

D J Taylor, Literary Review, May 2005

This is a deftly written, deeply intelligent and wholly admirable book, full of good ideas and sharp historical sidelights

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 605 KB
  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Maia Press (9 Jun. 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XG556
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,476 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Michael Arditti is a novelist, short story writer and critic. His novels are The Celibate (1993), Pagan and her Parents - Pagan's Father in the USA (1996), Easter (2000), Unity (2005), A Sea Change (2006), The Enemy of the Good (2009), Jubilate (2011) and The Breath of Night (2013). His short story collection, Good Clean Fun was published in 2004. He was awarded a Harold Hyam Wingate scholarship in 2000, a Royal Literary Fund fellowship in 2001, an Oppenheim-John Downes memorial award in 2003, and Arts Council awards in 2004 and 2007. He was the Leverhulme artist in residence at the Freud museum in 2008. His novels have been short- and long-listed for several literary awards and Easter won the inaugural Waterstone's Mardi Gras award. In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary DLitt by the University of Chester.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This hits and hits again. 9 Oct. 2013
By Sadsack
I was encouraged, recently, to reread this book when someone voted it the best constructed book that they had read. I had forgotten how skilfully Michael Arditti weaves the harsh realities of the Third Reich and its devastating aftermath with the initially innocent activities of the jeunesse doree at Cambridge and with the clear-eyed observations of the author's creation of himself. As horrors mount, the reader is taken to many uncomfortable places but the pace never slackens and the authenticity of these characters is never in doubt. This is a fine, interesting and stimulating book which raises many questions about political commitment, moral obsession and the fragility of dreams. Don't miss it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant novel about film and fascism 7 Oct. 2013
By ann
I was gripped from the start of this brilliant novel that explores some of the darkest moments of the 20th century - 30s fascism and 70s terrorism - through the prism of an international film about the relationship between Unity Mitford and Hitler.

Richly observed characters, both real and invented, and fascinating themes of politics, morality and art are expertly interwoven in a bold and experimental structure. Remarkably, it is interlaced with mordant wit and genial humour.

An outstanding novel to read and re-read!
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3.0 out of 5 stars You sometimes wonder and you sometimes wonder 20 Jan. 2014
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For a brief while in the mid 1970s, Germany was an alternative, interesting place. There were bohemians, drugs, art, electronic music and a strange left-wing terrorist movement called either Baader-Meinhof or the Red Army Faction. It all reached a crescendo in late 1977 (the German Autumn) with a high profile kidnapping and murder of Hanns Schleyer, an ex-Nazi who had become President of the German Employers' Association. But because Baader-Meinhof lacked any coherent agenda, it became a kind of flag-bearer for various anarchist, communist and neo-Nazi groups across Europe. Chumbawamba still sang about them years later.

So, Michael Arditti chooses this intriguing and bizarre time as the backdrop for his own terrorist story. The basic idea is that Felicity Benthall, a university friend of Arditti's, had become involved with a terrorist faction and carried a bomb into a memorial ceremony for the Israeli athletes who had been murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympiad. Felicity had been engaged to play the role of Unity Mitford, the 1930s British socialite and friend of Hitler, in a film being shot in Munich by an alternative director, Wolfram Meier. The film, whilst subversive, was the real deal with proper funding and high-ish profile actors.

The novel is very carefully structured to appear to be a collection of contemporaneous documents and more recent interviews and correspondences involving some of those who had worked alongside Felicity. Hence, we get letters sent at the time to Ardetti from his university friend Luke Dent, the writer of the film. We have a diary kept by Geraldine Mortimer, one of the stars on the film. We have other snippets and reminiscences, all with copious footnotes and commentary to add verisimilitude.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 13 Sept. 2005
By A.G.
It's a compelling story to begin with: a woman turned terrorist. But the magic lies in the storytelling. Arditti first gives the story a cusory look, a "what the world saw" in the introduction. Then you get the story in full--but a wonderfully biased, completely compromised view. After that, the book slowly introduces more facts, from less-than-perfect viewpoints. The whole story? You wish--you're left grasping at the straws provided.
The format's a refreshing change from the novel. There's no twist ending. You're not trying to figure out what happened; you're trying to figure out why. You're never fully satisfied, there's no easy answer at the end. Instead, you're left with much to ponder.
And isn't that a better feeling, anyway?
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars theatrical 16 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought the novel was about Unity Mitford, whereas in fact it is about a (fictional) film of her life called Unity. The novel is populated by a variety of characters drawn from alternative cinema and politics in the 1970s, particularly in Germany. I guess that that they are based, wholly or partly, on real people from the period, their vices and failings somewhat exaggerated. The story centres on the motivation behind a bombing carried out by the actress playing Unity - this is not a spoiler, the act being described at the outset. Different people reflect on this either later in interviews or contemporaneously (in diaries/letters). Stylistically it is interesting, but the book fails as an analysis of evil and wrong, simply because the characters are too extremely drawn. Even for actors and artists they are too dramatic and theatrical!
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