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All for Nothing

All for Nothing (Paperback)

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Synopsis

In January 1945, the German army is retreating from the Russian advance. Germans are fleeing the occupied territories in their thousands, in cars and carts and on foot. But in a rural East Prussian manor house, the wealthy von Globig family seals itself off from the world. Protected from the deprivation and chaos around them, they make no preparations to leave until a decision to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing. Finally joining the great trek west, the remaining members of the family face at last the catastrophic consequences of the war. Profoundly evocative of the period, sympathetic yet painfully honest about the motivations of its characters, All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end.

Fiction & PoetryFiction in translationFiction & PoetryHistorical FictionWar & combat fictionSecond World War fiction Publisher: Granta Books Publication Date: 07/07/2016 ISBN-13: 9781847087218  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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WALTER KEMPOWSKI (1929 - 2007) was one of Germany's most important post-war writers. He is known for his acclaimed series of novels German Chronicles (Deutsche Chronik) and his immense, eight-volume collection of first-hand accounts of World War II, Echo Soundings (Das Echolot), the final volume of which, Swansong 1945, was published by Granta in English in 2014. His last novel All for Nothing (Alles Umsonst), a bestseller in Germany in 2006 and critically applauded, sealed his reputation. It is available here in translation for the first time.

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Customer Reviews

This is an excellent beguiling novel, subtly drawing you into the world of this louche, ambivalent, complacent, aristocratic family, largely shielded from and oblivious to the war being executed elsewhere; presumably the typical experience of the elites who let the working class do their fighting and dying for them. Except, after we have been painted a picture of the characters of the household, it and they are inexorably dismantled and destroyed as the Russians advance from the east. Joining the hordes of refugees after the mistress of the house has been arrested for harbouring a Jew, her son finds himself propelled into the impending Armageddon about to strike his country. Beautifully constructed and written if offers a most different, human perspective on the disintegration of the Reich; a refreshing alternative to the military histories and documentary histories of the Reich. It will draw you in imperceptibly, the hallmark of a great writer.

- 21/11/2016
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