All for Nothing

All for Nothing

Book - 2015
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Winter, January 1945. It is cold and dark, and 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 tries to seal itself off from the world. Peter von Globig is twelve, and feigns a cough to get out of his Hitler Youth duties, preferring to sledge behind the house and look at snowflakes through his microscope. His father Eberhard is stationed in Italy - a desk job safe from the front - and his bookish and musical mother Katharina has withdrawn into herself. Instead the house is run by a conservative, frugal aunt, helped by two Ukrainian maids and an energetic Pole. Protected by their privileged lifestyle from the deprivation and chaos around them, and caught in the grip of indecision, they make no preparations to leave, until Katharina's decision to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing. Superbly expressive and strikingly vivid, sympathetic yet painfully honest about the motivations of its characters, All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the self-delusions, complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end.
Publisher: London :, Granta Books,, 2015
Description: 343 pages ; 23 cm
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781847087201
Branch Call Number: Kemp


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Jun 21, 2019

A great book. I read the first half but listened to the second half in an audiobook read by an excellent narrator who brought out the irony.

Jan 03, 2019

Recommended by New Yorker.

Apr 01, 2017

1945, East Germany. Russian invasion imminent. A family of somewhat down-at-the-heels aristocrats deny the inevitable defeat of Germany. Everyone is a thief. Everyone is complicit. The book evokes the atmosphere of the end of the Third Reich very well.

Oct 17, 2016

Gripping story in slow motion. Some fates seem unavoidable if they find you in the wrong place at the wrong time. Leave or not leave does not seem to matter unless you can hide from both old and new occupiers.

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