Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee


From Goodreads

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014, this is an immensely powerful novel about an ordinary German couple trying to build a life amidst the trauma of World War II.

A soldier on the Russian Front marries a photograph of a woman he has never met. Hundreds of miles away in Berlin, the woman marries a photograph of the soldier. It is a contract of business rather than love. When the newlywed strangers finally meet, however, passion blossoms and they begin to imagine a life together under the bright promise of Nazi Germany. But as the tide of war turns and Allied enemies come ever closer, the couple find themselves facing the terrible consequences of being ordinary people stained with their small share of an extraordinary guilt...  

My thoughts

I gave this an enjoyable 4 stars or 8/10.

I really enjoyed this story set around WWII. It tells the story of Peter Faber a young German soldier fighting in Russia and Katharina Spiller, the daughter of a man who appears to be a member of the Party and well connected.

Neither Peter nor Katharina have met, they've only seen a photo of one another and it is arranged that a marriage of convenience between them will take place. They both marry a photo and it's not until Peter is given leave for his Honeymoon that they actually meet in the flesh. This marriage of convenience gives Katharina the status of being married and should anything happen to Peter while away fighting, she will receive his pension. Peter on the other hand doesn't gain quite as much, but he has someone to keep his hope alive during his time away at the Front.

What follows is a bitter sweet love story, that many couples will have experienced during the war years. Full of dialogue this story conveys the atmosphere of the time so well. Most Authors would convey that atmosphere with lots of descriptive passages, Audrey Magee doesn't need to do this though. The use of dialogue between the characters helps the story flow so well.

For a debut novel, this was an absolute joy to read. I will be looking for further books to read by this Author and hope that they're every bit as good as this one was.  

No comments:

Post a Comment