Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: After Midnight by Irmgard Keun

Title: After Midnight
Author: Irmgard Keun
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publish Date: May 24, 2011
Source: Netgalley

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fan of novellas that cover a lot of ground. 
  • You love an old treasure.
What's the Story?:

From "Sanna and her ravishing friend Gerti would rather speak of love than politics, but in 1930s Frankfurt, politics cannot be escaped—even in the lady's bathroom. Crossing town one evening to meet up with Gerti's Jewish lover, a blockade cuts off the girls' path—it is the F├╝rher in a motorcade procession, and the crowd goes mad striving to catch a glimpse of Hitler's raised "empty hand." Then the parade is over, and in the long hours after midnight Sanna and Gerti will face betrayal, death, and the heartbreaking reality of being young in an era devoid of innocence or romance.
In 1937, German author Irmgard Keun had only recently fled Nazi Germany with her lover Joseph Roth when she wrote this slim, exquisite, and devastating book. It captures the unbearable tension, contradictions, and hysteria of pre-war Germany like no other novel. Yet even as it exposes human folly, the book exudes a hopeful humanism. It is full of humor and light, even as it describes the first moments of a nightmare. After Midnight is a masterpiece that deserves to be read and remembered anew."

My Two Cents:

I really, really love when publishers bring old treasures (also known as a book in this particular case) to new light and new audiences. After Midnight is one of those books. This is a short book about a vivacious girl named Sanna who is living in a quickly changing world. In this sort of novella, Keun gives us a look at not only the world events changing the the course of history at the time but also how regular life still seems to creep in.

I really enjoyed this short story. I had never heard of it before but this is definitely a treasure from the past.

1 comment:

  1. I love when publishers decide to reprint old books too - Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris, etc.

    I'd never heard of this one before but it's jumped straight onto my wishlist. You always read such obscure books, it's great! :D


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