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All That I Amby Anna Funder
Synopses & Reviews
All That I Am is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices some people make for their beliefs, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places.
When eighteen-year-old Ruth Becker visits her cousin Dora in Munich in 1923, she meets the love of her life, the dashing young journalist Hans Wesemann, and eagerly joins in the heady activities of the militant political Left in Germany. Ten years later, Ruth and Hans are married and living in Weimar Berlin when Hitler is elected chancellor of Germany. Together with Dora and her lover, Ernst Toller, the celebrated poet and self-doubting revolutionary, the four become hunted outlaws overnight and are forced to flee to London. Inspired by the fearless Dora to breathtaking acts of courage, the friends risk betrayal and deceit as they dedicate themselves to a dangerous mission: to inform the British government of the very real Nazi threat to which it remains willfully blind. All That I Am is the heartbreaking story of these extraordinary people, who discover that Hitlers reach extends much further than they had thought.
Gripping, compassionate, and inspiring, this remarkable debut novel reveals an uncommon depth of humanity and wisdom. Anna Funder has given us a searing and intimate portrait of courage and its price, of desire and ambition, and of the devastating consequences when they are thwarted.
"Funder follows the success of Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall with a debut novel 'reconstructed from fossil fragments, much as you might draw skin and feathers over an assembly of dinosaur bones, to fully see the beast.' Ruth Becker glimpses that beast outside her Berlin apartment in 1933, as her showy journalist husband, Hans, makes mojitos on the day that Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany. The heart of the novel, however, belongs to Ruth's cousin Dora Fabian, leftist agitator, doomed idealist, and soul mate of playwright Ernst Toller. Ruth helps Dora hide Ernst's writings as the Reichstag burns, and she flees with Hans the next day after being questioned about her Communist affiliations. Outside Germany, she works tirelessly for the cause, bringing Nazi preparations for war to the attention of the British. But her relationship with Hans, whose secret activities endanger everyone, crumbles. As the Holocaust begins, Ernst, in New York, relates Dora's role in his life to a typist whose document reaches Ruth in Australia almost 60 years later. By alternating between Ernst and Ruth, Funder leaps through time with alacrity. She adds an integral perspective on a shopworn subject by invoking the lives of Nazi dissidents whose attempts to alert the world to the growing menace were ignored until it was too late. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, the Wylie Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Award-winning author Anna Funder delivers an affecting and beautifully evocative debut novel about a group of young German exiles who risk their lives to awaken the world to the terrifying threat of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Based on real-life events and people, All That I Am brings to light the heroic, tragic, and true story of a small group of left-wing German social activists who mounted a fierce and cunning resistance from their perilous London exile, in a novel that fans of Suite Francaise, The Piano Teacher, and Atonement will find irresistible and unforgettable.
“An intimate exploration of human connection and our responsibility to one another.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
About the Author
Born in 1966, Anna Funder is an Australian writer who grew up in Melbourne. She worked as an international lawyer and in public relations for a German overseas television service in Berlin. Her first book, Stasiland, won the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction in the United Kingdom. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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