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The Aftermath Paperback – 31 Jul 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 213 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (31 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241957478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241957479
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Superb. This masterly novel wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation (Mail on Sunday, Novel of the Week)

Excellent, original, masterly. A captivating tale not only of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance (Literary Review)

Profoundly moving, beautifully written (Independent)

Superb. Conjuring surprise after surprise (Guardian)

An extraordinary read (Daily Mail)

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 16 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this novel, but perhaps not quite as much as some other reviewers. It is very good in many ways but I did have some reservations about it.

Set in post-war occupied Hamburg in 1946, the story follows the fortunes of the enlightened British Colonel Lewis trying to govern his sector with humanity, of his family, of some of the conquered Germans and of other British occupiers, many with attitudes very different from Lewis's. Rhydian Brook writes good, readable prose and conjures the atmosphere of ruined Hamburg in the freezing winter very well. He paints good portraits of the sense and attitudes of all shades of both German and British people there, I found many of his characters convincing and learned a lot about post-war Germany.

What I found less good was the character development and interaction, which seemed a little predictable and a slightly missed opportunity to look more deeply at attitudes to victory, forgiveness and grief, so the story itself didn't really grip me. I also found that anachronisms in the language damaged the sense of period: people simply didn't say things like, "It might send the wrong message," or "Do you think?" or "You have set the bar rather high," in 1946 and, although there wasn't enough of this to ruin my enjoyment, it did jar badly and kept throwing me out of the atmosphere rather.

This is a good read in many ways, and is certainly a well-researched and well-written book; I just didn't quite think it tackled its subject as deeply as it might have done and lacked a little originality in its plot.
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