Tuesday 15 November 2011

Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin

anonymous a woman in berlin

I wonder how heavy a review should I write now.  A Woman in Berlin certainly is a heavy book.  It provides excellent food for thought.  It is beautifully written.  It is not for a sensitive (or underage, for that matter) reader.

A single journalist in her thirties describes her life in Berlin, spring 1945 - first besieged, then conquered by the Red Army.  The diary is full of ugly details of war existence - bombardments, air raid shelters, hunger, rape, despair, uncertainty... 

A Women in Berlin may provoke harsh judgements - after all it's so easy to condemn a woman, who sleeps with the enemy in exchange for food and protection.  This is probably the reason why the author chose to remain anonymous and agreed to the second edition only after her death. 

Germans being the official 'bad guys' of the World War II, it is rare to find the war's description through the eyes of the vanquished.  It inevitably brings up questions - was this a 'rightful' punishment for the hell they unleashed upon Europe?  Or a proof that the innocent suffer on both sides of any conflict? 

A Woman in Berlin was turned into a movie in 2008.  I haven't seen it, just letting you know it's out there.

I've consumed the book during one afternoon.  Whatever else you want to say about it, it surely is unputdownable.

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