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Somewhere in Germany is the sequel to the acclaimed Nowhere in Africa, which was turned into the Oscar-winning film of the same name. This novel traces the return of the Redlich family to Germany after their nine-year exile in Kenya during World War II. In Africa, Walter had longed for his homeland and dreamed of rebuilding his life as a lawyer, yet ultimately he and his family - wife Jettel, daughter Regina, and baby Max - realize that Germany seems as exotic and unwelcoming to them in 1947 as Kenya had seemed in 1938. Hunger and desperation are omnipresent in bombed-out Frankfurt, and this Jewish family - especially Regina, who misses Africa the most - has a hard time adjusting to their new circumstances.
Yet slowly the family adapts to their new home amidst the ruins. In Frankfurt, Regina matures into a woman and, though her parents want her to marry an upstanding Jewish man, her love life progresses in its own idiosyncratic fashion. She develops a passion for art and journalism and begins her professional career at a Frankfurt newspaper. Walter at last finds professional success as a lawyer, but never quite adjusts to life in Frankfurt, recalling with nostalgia his childhood in Upper Silesia and his years in Africa. Only his son Max truly finds what Walter had hoped for: A new homeland in Germany.
Although the Redlichs receive kindness from strangers, they also learn anti-Semitism still prevails in post-Nazi Germany. They partake in the West German "economic miracle" with their own home, a second-hand car, and the discovery of television, but young Max's discovery of the Holocaust revives long-buried memories. Rich in memorable moments and characters, this novel portrays the reality of postwar German society in vivid and candid detail.
What listeners say about Somewhere in GermanyAverage Customer Ratings
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Schizophrenic-but not entertaining "Sybil" variety
What disappointed you about Somewhere in Germany?
I wanted to glimpse life in post-war Germany. The book was successful in such a glimpse. Unfortunately, it felt like she took a diary and tried to weave it with a related historic novel. We were introduced to characters over and over who were then left undeveloped. I wanted to know more about Martin, I wanted to know why Schlahinski was arrested, what came of the arrest, how he ended up free. I wanted to better know her thoughts on sleeping with her boss and how that affected her faith and her soul. Did it go on forever? How did she break it off? Only a handful of numerous unanswered questions.
What could Stefanie Zweig have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
She should have abandoned the diary and written a historic novel.
Did Max Roll do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?
Max did a reasonable performance - I would listen to him again.
Any additional comments?
Look elsewhere for you post war snapshot of life.
1 person found this helpful
- Becca R
Follow up to the extraordinary Nowhere In Africa
I listened to this over a day and-a-half period. I loved the first book and the award winning film that was made from it.
I was excited to follow the story of the Redlich's once they returned to Germany. The darkness of the world situation that brought them to Africa in 1937/38 was overshadowed by the natural beauty of the African land and the simplicity of their life tied to nature that was in such contrast to their bourgeois German life before Nazism disrupted it. The German return is a much more brutal story of remaking a life in a scarred urban environment that was not softened by the natural beauty of a pastoral landscape.
Since this is the English translation, I found some of the metaphors awkward. I do not read nor speak German so I can not attest to the original writing.
The reader was much better as a narrator speaking in the third person than when he feigned a child's or a female voice. I found that took away from the story.
I love Audible. I saves my eyes and allows me to drive, walk the dogs, and work in the kitchen while I "read ."
I recommend this to those who read book one and/or saw the film Nowhere In Africa.
Perhaps I would have liked it better if I read it myself because of the feigned voices.
- Kindle Customer
Spared from direct horror?
This book was a recounting of a family racked by guilt who faced that guilt by returning to Germany to face the monster that caused so much pain called the Holocaust. Even though they suffered by facing the enemy, they could never quite come to grips with that reality
That is what I got from this magnificent book
Could never quite imagine why a Jewish father would expose his family voluntarily to the antisemitism of Germany voluntarily. It seems a kind of punishment for surviving when so many did not
Great Sequel to a great read
I enjoyed every minute of Nowhere in Africa. It was one of those books that you didn’t want to end. So what a delight to discover that there was a sequel! I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next to Regina and her family. This book lived up to every expectation and I was as entranced from start to finish as I was when reading Nowhere in Africa. The story is beautifully written and I think the narrator is perfect. He really brings the characters to life and is spot on with the various accents. I know I will return to both of these books again as I do when I have really enjoyed an excellent read/listen.