Customer Reviews for

The German Woman

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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  • Posted September 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    Simplest summary: In the exhausted days of 1944, an English nurse (the widow of a German doctor) becomes lovers with an American exile. Both have secrets.
    This book takes place in two uncomfortable eras which are relegated to a couple of paragraphs in most of our high school history books: the sorry wrapping-up of World War I, when Germany endured vengeful blockades and half a million died of starvation, and (primarily) in the summer of 1944, when the Germans were clearly losing World War II but matters were far from done. The entire premise is wrapped up in the musing of Claus, one of the two main characters, when he thinks, "If the war was in many ways noble, at its margins it could yet be wrong."
    It would have been easy for this novel to get heavy handed. And certainly it isn't lighthearted summer-reading fun, as the author does not shy away from the gritty realities of those times. They are utterly foreign to most of us: a child with rickets, taking a bath with water rationing, the despair of a man searching through the rubble of a bombed-out house. Yet the writing is very good; Paul Griner certainly knows how to bring all our senses into the story, from Kate's perfume to the singing voices of a church congregation (suddenly silenced by the explosion of a bomb). He's equally good at expressing the uncertainties in personal relationships ("What does he think of me? Can I trust her?").
    I found myself reading this book well after my bedtime, then waking up early to read "just a little more." Yet I'm reluctant to give it five stars, because I don't have that irresistible urge to press it on a friend. Without doubt, though, The German Woman is a good book for those who like historical novels or it-makes-you-think literature.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    Starts off strong but then deteriorates

    I very much enjoyed the earler portions of The German Woman, when it was narrated by Kate. When Claus took over the story telling, it became increasingly dull. Not a fan of the ending, either. If you enjoy historical fiction, don't mind the absense of dialogue, and appreciate ambiguous endings; then give it a whirl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

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