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City of Women Audio CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611761271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611761276
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.8 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,433,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

David Gillham's excellent new novel, City of Women, is built on one of the most extraordinary and faithful recreations of a time in history - Berlin in World War II - that I've ever read. (Alan Furst)

In this moving and masterful debut, David Gillham brings war-torn Berlin to life and reveals the extraordinary mettle of women tested to their limits and beyond. Powerful and piercingly real. You won't soon forget these characters. (Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife)

[A] stunning debut . . . Gillham puts a fresh spin on the horrors of WWII (Publishers Weekly)

Vividly cinematic yet subtle and full of moral ambiguity . . . riveting characters - is as impossible to put down as it is to forget (Kirkus) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Gillham trained as a writer at the University of Southern California. After relocating to New York, he worked in the book industry, and now lives with his family in Western Massachusetts. City of Women is his first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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4.3 out of 5 stars
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By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 28 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In David R Gillham's remarkable debut novel 'City of Women' the city is Berlin in 1943 at the height of the Second World War, and one of the women we meet is Sigrid Schroder, in her late twenties, blonde, beautiful and married to Kaspar who is fighting at the Eastern Front. Sigrid works as a stenographer for the Reichspatentamt, the Patent Office, and is coping under stressful circumstances, living with her unpleasant, critical mother-in-law, queuing for food and attempting to make their rations last, while all the time trying not to let the oppressions of the Nazi regime affect her too deeply.

The Berlin in this story is a bleak and austere city where its inhabitants exist in an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion, and where some have no qualms about informing on their neighbours to the Gestapo. Sigrid, therefore, needs to be very careful because although to outward appearances she appears the ideal German soldier's wife, she is leading a double life. Sigrid is having a passionate love affair with a Jewish man, Egon Weiss, who although married, is separated from his wife and children when they are forced to go into hiding. If having a Jewish lover is not perilous enough, Sigrid then becomes friendly with a young woman, Ericha, who lives in her apartment block and Ericha is another woman who is leading a double life. Ericha, young, brave and beautiful, risks her life daily by working for an underground organization providing safe houses for Jews and helping them to escape deportation, and it is through her friendship with Ericha that Sigrid realizes that she can no longer ignore the plight of those being persecuted by the Nazi regime, resulting in her becoming a key participant in Ericha's organization.
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Format: Paperback
This started off as a well written book, creating a good atmosphere and with interesting characters. However I grew disenchanted with it because 2 important plot developments seemed very contrived. A chance encounter in a cinema leads our "heroine" to have a dangerous relationship with a Jew. Also the way she forces the girl in her apartment block to reveal that she is helping to hide Jews and politicals on the run, does not ring true. In a city full of spies and informers you would have thought she would have been much more careful. Although the book is about women it is obvious it is written by a man because of the racy, rather gratuitous sex scenes. After reading a third of it I abandoned this book as I no longer found it convincing. It's a decent enough read but not top notch. If anyone wants to read a novel that really conveys what it was it was like to live in Berlin during the Second World War, try "Alone in Berlin" by Hans Fallada. His novel is far more tense, realistic and convincing than Gillham's, in my opinion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
City of Women, by David Gillham, was another three star book for me. It is a second world war book, but set rather unusually in 1943 Berlin.

The title comes from the fact that most men of military age were away serving in the armed forces, mostly out east in the Soviet Union. Despite this, there seem to be enough men around to provide the main character (a woman who works as a typist in a minor government agency) with plentiful bed partners. The return from the eastern front of her wounded husband does little to interfere with her sex life, since their marriage was already in a precarious state when war broke out. Nobody seems especially bothered, or even surprised, by the state of affairs.

I found the book immensely dreary, I’m afraid. I suspect that in part this was a deliberate stylistic choice of the author, to convey to the reader how dreary wartime life in Berlin was. If so, it was all too successful.

On top of the daily grind of boring work, inadequate food and regular bombings, with only a cinema to provide official entertainment – and sporadic and rather mechanical sex as a diversion – there is a steadily developing plot of helping Jews to escape the city and the country. It is hard to decide if this is really an act of courage, or just one more way to escape boredom. For a few of the people involved, the actions are part of a moral stand, but for many, there is no real basis other than a rather unfocused sense of anger.

Personally I didn’t find that this theme integrated very well with the personality of the central woman, though perhaps the author feels that once again this is the point he is trying to make – in such a situation, unlikely responses are drawn out of ordinary people.
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The haunting question that one asks themselves as the read the Aftermath is "What would you do". The author developed his story with this thought and the story unraveled and went in many directions. The essential theme was survival, bravery, and hiding the unfortunate "criminals of the state" from the Gestapo. There was a very vivid historical setting which was described in detail.
I enjoyed the stereotype character descriptions of the people in the office and apartment building; the loyal party member and SS wife, the bitter mother in law, the mother with the order of motherhood for her meritorious performance of duty All of the elements of living in a police state with the Gestapo constantly hounding the, citizens was portrayed with the suspense and intrigue that must have occurred on a regular basis. I think my imagination ran ahead of that of the authors as I was predicting relationships and scenarios that did not occur in the story. It could have gone in may different directions. I would have enjoyed reading a little more of a romantic relationship involving Carin. It was a very entertaining book with lots of romantic and not so romantic encounters that formed unlikely relationships. The ending was fast paced and was a non stop page turner. I hope there is a follow up ! The book never disappointed and maintained my total interest from start to finish.
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