by Maria Hummel


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Motherland by Maria Hummel

Motherland is inspired by stories from the author’s father and his German childhood, and letters between her grandparents that were hidden in an attic wall for fifty years. It is the author’s attempt to reckon with the paradox of her father—a product of her grandparents’ fiercely protective love and their status as Mitläufer, Germans who “went along” with Nazism, first reaping its benefits and later its consequences.
This page-turning novel focuses on the Kappus family: Frank is a reconstructive surgeon who lost his beloved wife in childbirth and two months later married a young woman who must look after the baby and his two grieving sons when he is drafted into medical military service. Alone in the house, Liesl must attempt to keep the children fed with dwindling food supplies, safe from the constant Allied air attacks, and protected against the swell of desperate refugees flooding their town. When one child begins to mentally unravel, Liesl must discover the source of the boy’s infirmity or lose him forever to Hadamar, the infamous hospital for “unfit” children. The novel bears witness to the shame and courage of Third Reich families during the devastating last days of the war, as each family member’s fateful choices lead them deeper into questions of complicity and innocence, to the novel’s heartbreaking and unforgettable conclusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619022379
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 01/14/2014
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Maria Hummel is the author of the novels Wilderness Run and House and Fire (Copper Canyon, 2013), winner of the APR/Honickman First Book prize in poetry. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Poetry , New England Review , Ploughshares , The Sun , and The Believer. Her work was also featured in the 2012 Pushcart Prize anthology, and she was a finalist in Narrative’s second Annual Poetry Contest. A former Stegner Fellow in Poetry, Hummel is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and lives with her husband and sons in San Francisco.

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Motherland 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Motherland is already one of my favorite books of the year. It is page-turning, heartbreaking, effervescent. I know I will be thinking about this book for a long, long time. And then I will read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this novel hard to put down. Reading about the horrors experienced during war time brought to light the ease of my daily life. This novel hits upon the experiences of a German family in a small German village toward the end of WWII. The author wrote this story using letters written by her family members who lived in Germany during the war. Many events are based on events her relatives experienced. One thing is for certain, German citizens suffered as well. All people suffer during war time.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
I have anticipated that the book would be boring and difficult to finish. I was surprised. The book centered in Germany during the final stages of WWII. For some odd reason, March Violets by Philip Kerr, contrasted the two novels. Hummel's book is better written and easier to read and understand. So many interesting characters, such as Liesl, the young step-mother, left with three young step-sons as the war and all its problems attack Liesl's resolve. Hummel portrays the characters and setting very well, and the story creeps slowly as the reader learns of the terrors and heartaches in Germany during WWII. At times, the doctor/husband, Frank, seems a distant figure. The ending falls apart as the war ends and the Germans must cope with a divided and shattered country. The novel builds in momentum to the conclusion that fizzles.
BrownCatGoes More than 1 year ago
Such am achingly beautiful book!
Christmas0 More than 1 year ago
Motherland was an interesting read from a different prospective of WW II.
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