Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fiction Tuesday

Halloween might be over, but here are two literary works that just might keep you up on these very Autumn November nights.

In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them.

When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.

Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.

Men did actually pick and marry woman, just by looking at postcards and choosing. The men received a week long honeymoon furlough, and the woman received the man's pension in the event of his death. I recommend that you listen to the video interview that is included on this novel's homepage, it explains this and much more about the subject of the book.

This novel alternates between Peter, stationed on the Eastern front and Katharina waiting in Berlin.-Diane

This is a must read novel for 2014. The most engaging and readable book I have read this year. It is a work of historical force with contemporary insights into loyalty, nationhood and corruption. It triumphs the human spirit and demonstrates that choices are sometimes beyond our reach. It is a story of love without sentimentality.-Richard
Great fairy tales are not always stories designed for children. The lurking wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood,” the gingerbread house that lures Hansel and Gretel, the beauty asleep in her castle—these fables represent some of our deepest, most primeval fears and satisfy our longing for good to win out over evil (preferably in the most gruesome way possible). In this captivating new collection, critically acclaimed author Jean Thompson takes the classic fairy tale and brings it into the modern age with stories that capture the magic and horror in everyday life. The downtrodden prevail, appearances deceive, and humility and virtue triumph in The Witch, as lost children try to find their way home, adults cursed by past unspeakable acts are fated to experience their own horror in the present, and true love—or is it enchantment?—conquers all. The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told is a haunting and deeply entertaining collection, showcasing the inimitable Thompson at the height of her storytelling prowess.
I really enjoyed these tales. The story that humored me the most is about the young naive woman that marries the devious creepy older man. I think what captivated me about it was how ridiculous he becomes as his true self was exposed. My favorite is the first tale,in the vein of Hansel/Gretel , as it was creepy and a much too real version of the original. Children are at the whim of adults and corrupt systems, they have such little power or say in anything, and that is frightening.-Lolly

If you want to tell today some famous fairy tales, what would emerge? As if it would pick the two brothers of Hansel and Gretel, for example, or who could be a modern Sleeping Beauty? The answer is provided by Jean Thompson with these hilarious stories, set in the middle of the twenty-first century and certainly not politically correct.-Maria


cat eyes & skinny jeans said...

'The Witch & Other Tales Retold' sounds interesting.


Sara Gerard said...

Both of these look good!