City of Women Audio CD
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
not sure why i chose this book. i imagined a story about women coping with terrible situations, in a city that was being attacked. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I loved City of Women and found it difficult to put down. I only read at night but throughout the day, looked forward to picking up the story where I had left off. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
CITY OF WOMEN. This remarkable debut novel from David Gillham, longtime entity in the publishing business, drops us into Berlin, Germany, 1943—at the epicenter and height of the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Stephanie De Pue