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The Dark Roomby Rachel Seiffert
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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
"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
"[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
"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
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.
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