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This title in other editions

The Dark Room

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The Dark Room Cover

ISBN13: 9780375421044
ISBN10: 0375421041
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Less Than Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A debut novel that retells the history of twentieth-century Germany through the experiences of three ordinary Germans.

Helmut: A boy born with a physical deformity finds work as a photographer's assistant during the 1930s and captures on film the changing temper of Berlin, the city he loves. But his acute photographic eye never provides him with the power to understand the significance of what he sees through his camera. . . . Lore: In the weeks following Germany's surrender, a teenage girl whose parents are both in Allied captivity takes her younger siblings on a terrifying, illegal journey through the four zones of occupation in search of her grandmother. . . . Micha: Many years after the war, a young man trying to discover why the Russians imprisoned his grandfather for nine years after the war meets resistance at every turn; the only person who agrees, reluctantly, to help him is compromised by his own past.

The Dark Room evokes the experiences of the individual with astonishing emotional depth and psychological authenticity. With dazzling originality and to profound effect, Rachel Seiffert has re-envisioned and illuminated signal moments of the twentieth century in all their drama and complexity.

Review:

"Rachel Seiffert writes movingly about three generations of Germans confined by selective blindness and silence: a patriotic photographer who limits his vision to the eye of the camera; a courageous refugee girl who stays focused on her own family's suffering; and a teacher who is compelled and yet terrified to pursue his search for the truth. Oustanding." Ursula Hegi, author of Stones from the River

Review:

"Rachel Seiffert's storytelling is completely absorbing and finally overwhelming in its detail, its relentless action, and its beautiful, shy eloquence. The Dark Room, in its strategies for approaching the unwatchable, the unseeable, is brilliant, and in its closing pages, it brings to light a set of images that no reader is ever likely to forget." Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

Review:

"[An] ambitious and powerful first novel...Seiffert writes lean, clean prose. Deftly, she hangs large ideas on the vivid private experiences of her principal characters...A novel of uncommon perception, The Dark Room deserves to be placed alongside such exemplary postwar German fictional works as Bernhard Schlink's The Reader and Hans-Ulrich Treichel's Lost." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Together, these three affecting works constitute a portrait of changing Germany and a psychological study of the ramifications of Nazi aggression. Seiffert's deliberately dispassionate narrative works to capture the rigid and self-righteous convictions of Germany's general population. Placed alongside the historical record, the tale gives a more complete, comprehensible picture of incomprehensible evil." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

A debut work of major importance, this novel retells the history of 20th-century Germany through the experiences of three ordinary Germans before, during and after World War II.

About the Author

RACHEL SEIFFERT was born in England in 1971 and now lives in Germany.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

cariola119, November 29, 2009 (view all comments by cariola119)
Seiffert's Afterwards was one of my top books last year, so I was eager to read more of her work. This is her debut novel, and while it's not as polished as Afterwards, it is still a moving and finely written book. The novel is divided into three sections and three stories:

1) In 1944 Berlin, Helmut, a young photographer's assistant, persistently supports the Fuhrer until hesees--and secretly snaps--scenes he had never expected imagined.

2) As the Russian, American, and British troops begin to occupy Germany, Lore--her age is never given, but she seems to be about 15--is left in charge of her four younger siblings with instructions to take them on a long and desperate journey from Bavaria to their grandmother's house in Hamburg.

3) In 1998, Micha is obsessed with the concern that his Nazi grandfather might have executed Jews in Belarus during the war. A teacher, he is disturbed by the fact that German children are taught to empathize with the victims and survivors but never to consider that their loved ones were the perpetrators.

The links between the stories, aside from the war in Germany, are a bit hard to make. Are the photographs Lore sees posted those taken by Helmut? Is Michael somehow related to Lore's family? In the end, it doesn't really matter. Seiffert has taken a different route from most who write about the Holocaust and the Nazi regime: instead of focusing on victims, she recreates this world through the eyes of average people who have been caught up in the historical moment. As in Afterwards, she questions the concept of war and what it does to human beings--not only those who live through it but those who, like Micha, must live with an ongoing national guilt.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375421044
Editor:
Frank, Dan
Author:
Frank, Dan
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Grandfathers
Subject:
Photographers
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Abnormalities, human
Subject:
War stories
Subject:
World War, 19
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
105-443
Publication Date:
2001
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
278 p.
Dimensions:
9.53x6.36x1.04 in. 1.17 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Dark Room Used Hardcover
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$3.95 In Stock
Product details 278 p. pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375421044 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Rachel Seiffert writes movingly about three generations of Germans confined by selective blindness and silence: a patriotic photographer who limits his vision to the eye of the camera; a courageous refugee girl who stays focused on her own family's suffering; and a teacher who is compelled and yet terrified to pursue his search for the truth. Oustanding."
"Review" by , "Rachel Seiffert's storytelling is completely absorbing and finally overwhelming in its detail, its relentless action, and its beautiful, shy eloquence. The Dark Room, in its strategies for approaching the unwatchable, the unseeable, is brilliant, and in its closing pages, it brings to light a set of images that no reader is ever likely to forget."
"Review" by , "[An] ambitious and powerful first novel...Seiffert writes lean, clean prose. Deftly, she hangs large ideas on the vivid private experiences of her principal characters...A novel of uncommon perception, The Dark Room deserves to be placed alongside such exemplary postwar German fictional works as Bernhard Schlink's The Reader and Hans-Ulrich Treichel's Lost."
"Review" by , "Together, these three affecting works constitute a portrait of changing Germany and a psychological study of the ramifications of Nazi aggression. Seiffert's deliberately dispassionate narrative works to capture the rigid and self-righteous convictions of Germany's general population. Placed alongside the historical record, the tale gives a more complete, comprehensible picture of incomprehensible evil."
"Synopsis" by , A debut work of major importance, this novel retells the history of 20th-century Germany through the experiences of three ordinary Germans before, during and after World War II.
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