23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful debut
'The Dark Room' is a beautiful debut. It is captivating, lucid and thought-provoking, without being remotely pretentious. It is a real pleasure to read, whilst at the same time raising disturbing yet fundamental questions regarding national and individual responsibility for World War II.
This is a collection of three fictional stories of young people's experiences of...
Published on 24 Mar 2002 by A. Peel
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An exploration of dislocation.
I approached Ms Seiffert's novel with optimistic anticipation, which if not wholly rewarded was very far from dashed.
This book is a page turner. I read it in a sitting, notwithstanding some of the harrowing material contained within its pages, and found it a first class read. As a debut novel, it is exceptional stuff. If she continues to hone her craft, we can...
Published on 18 Feb 2002 by email@example.com
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellen bok,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)This is a wonderful book, it is evocative, original, shocking and compelling as is the recent film Lore, based on the second section of this book/
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mxed Bag,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)As pointed out by previous reviewers, the volume in question is a collection of three novellas. The first one is around a character called Helmut; it uses striking language and deals with the psyche of a German whose disability holds him back from joining the army during the years from 1933 - 1945, a theme which is markedly different from the usual diet we are fed on those years. However, I felt that the imagery of the camera was overdone and that there was the danger of it stifling the main character.
Even more remarkable is the second story `Lore'. The author keeps using stark, unheard-of imagery to describe the emotional states the main protagonist finds herself in; the whole plot of children travelling across bombed out post-war Germany is one I have not come across in recent English-language literature.
The third story which most reviewers feel is the peak of the collection I found very disappointing as it smacks heavily of zeitgeist. The plot in itself is a bit of a cliché as Ms Seiffert is not the only author of mixed German parentage who sends her protagonist on a search of what a member of the German branch of their family might have been up to during World War Two. To be sure, Micha is a likeable fellow: he is a teacher of English, cycles to his work and lives with a Turkish partner, a sort of model German The Guardian newspaper could easily approve of. He does a bit of family research on the side and gets all obsessed with his grandfather to the brink of hysteria though his Turkish wife tries in vain to get some sense into him. He wants to find out whether his `Opa' was a killer and murderer and the reader just wanted to shake him and shout: `of course, he has killed and murdered, you fool, he was a soldier, wasn't he?' Page after page we are confronted with stuff we have already come across in the mainstream media but which is being regurgitated to keep the story going. The plot becomes ever more contrived and it goes on and on, adding one act of contrition and sobbing tearfulness to the next. The language sadly mirrors the platitude of this piece as it has lost its innovative edge.
5.0 out of 5 stars The war from another perspective,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)This traces the experiences of two families during the war and one after. There is always the undercurrent of fear and the shame felt by many over what happened to many of the people. A lot is hidden away and not talked about but truth will out and it isn't always pleasant. Youth will always ask questions and some keep searching until they find it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, interesting read,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Kindle Edition)This book is well written. The book is made up of three stories. Two set during the second world war and the final story is more present time.The stories all run together very well.
The Dark Room is unusual in that it looks at the war through the eye's of the German people and the suffering they had to go through.
The style of writing and the stories grip you all the way through.
I read this book over two day's i couldn't put it down.
I would highly recommend, 'The Dark Room'.
It's great to find a book that is so well written.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, dark and moving,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)Wow what a book. Written in a strange almost shorthand way with a style all her own this is simply brilliant. It helps if you are fascinated by WW2, which I am, but the darkly disturbing storylines of the three stories, though never actually connecting, do weave a deeply moving account of the war and the atrocities witnessed by German citizens. I agree with other reviewers that the last story is the most profound and had me in tears. Wonderful stuff!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did I Miss Something ?,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)This is not a novel but three badly written, ill conceived short stories which in no way reflect the true horror and consequences of the Third Reich and WW2.
The middle story was passable, the first dull and the 3rd just plain daft.
Give it a miss.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant stories and beautifully written, but something was missing,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)I wasn't convinced about the balance between the stories. The first was a short story, the second was much longer and the third was virtually a novel in it's own right. They were, however, beautifully written and chose angles on the holocaust which are not usually tackled.
This author has an interesting way of presenting dialogue. In the first story it was almost non-existant and in the others it was written without explaing who was speaking. A style which worked well and was very gripping.
It was interesting to see the Second World War from the point of view of Germans as innocent victims. In all 3 stories, the plots handle the unimaginable horror which swept Germany when it became known what had really happened and explore the effects on the families of those involved.
My main criticism is that there seemed to be something missing with the link between the stories and I was expecting characters to run through all the stories. This would have made the book feel more like a novel than seperate stories.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking though strangely unmoving,
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)TDR’s three parts- effectively an awakening, a journey and a discovery fit together with their themes and ideas although the characters and places remain separate. The first two stories are set during and just after WW2 and deal with the main character in each reconciling themselves with the new Germany they find themselves in. The last story is slightly different and concerns a man in contemporary Germany trying to find out what his Grandad did during the war. Although this section was well handled and brought up many questions about war guilt and obsession after reading Schlink’s The Reader I thought it missed much poignancy. All three stories suffered from the detachment of the author although her writing style was very apt using German expression and syntax to create a sense of place. The lack of feeling sometimes emanating from Seiffert’s writing seemed to complement the story’s atmosphere of people trying to live their lives but with terrible complications. This tone, however, whilst being effective literature, does mean readers cannot get as close to the characters as they would like so they seem cold and distant.
A good novel that raises as many questions as it answers and shows ordinary German’s attitude to Nazism. It’s writing style, however, means it is not for those who prefer warm characters to grim reality.
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving, simple, quixotic, but not Booker material.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dark Room (Hardcover)This was a very good collection of novellas. But they were unconnected except by virtues of guilt, war and desire and obsession. The book's most telling statement is the problem of coming to grips with the fact that "we did this", meaning the Germans, the Holocaust, the war.
Nice to read, fresh writing, but not Booker stuff. Probably deserves the shortlist (or would have, were it a novel and not a collection of stories; I don't know how it got past the screening process), but the proze will land elsewhere (Carey, perhaps, or Smith).
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking garoup of short stories,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dark Room (Paperback)This book contains the tales of three very different individuals whose lives are all affected by the German Nazis. These evocative stories make you realise that government systems really do affect individuals. The enjambement of all three stories is not a great climax but does leave many thoughts that you can choose to answer yourself. A pleasant and realistic overview of the individual Nazi victims.
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The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert (Paperback - 7 Feb 2002)