15 Jan 2015

TWO BROTHERS.

My first read of 2015 and its perfect for What's In A Name? 2015: A Familiar Relation category.



TWO BROTHERS by BEN ELTON.

SOURCE: A Readers Group read.

BACK COVER BLURB: Berlin, 1920.

Two babies are born.
Two brothers.
United and indivisible, 
sharing everything.
Twins in all but blood.

As Germany marches towards its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice ...

Which one of them will survive?

FIRST SENTENCE {The Girl On The Cart, Berlin, 1920}: Freida Stengel woke from a dream filled with tiny kicks to find her nightdress and her bedding soaking wet.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 597}: A blonde version of Dagmar, but one whose name was whispered in fear by every submarine* in Berlin. Stella Kubler, the Jew-catcher.
The exquisite young woman with her Aryan looks and corn-coloured hair, who bought her life afresh each day by denouncement and betrayal.

MY THOUGHTS: Comprising events in 1920's - 1940's Germany and, to a much lesser degree, 1950's England. Apart from the comparisons - both fascinating and at the same quite terrifying - between the racism and prejudice displayed by Nazi Germany and that felt by Billie (a recently arrived immigrant to 1950's London) and the fact that it tied up all the loose ends nicely I felt the latter aspect added little to the story in itself.

Slightly let down at times by the writing. The author having a tendency to lecture, his desire to tell of actual events occasionally getting in the way of the story. His exposition sometimes annoying in that rather than setting out events and letting the reader make up his/her own mind he tended towards what I felt was finger wagging in an attempt to make up our minds for us. Then there is the usage of words. At times frustrated by the lack of attention to detail as far as language goes, the use of modern slang certainly doing nothing for the novels authenticity.  

Nevertheless a tremendous read, my Mr Elton has a talent for telling a story. Unique in that I for one have never before come across a 'holocaust' novel that has comprised so many different elements all within the one book. Paul and Otto's ('twin brothers', one Aryan, the other Jewish) stories aside, Two Brothers encompasses all of the things you'd expect and so much more from a novel of this genre. The political, economics, the jazz scene of that time, homosexuality amongst the ranks of the Nazi elite, education, its all there in what I found a real page- turner of a read.

* The term used for opponents of the Nazi regime who had gone underground.


13 comments:

Literary Feline said...

Ooo! This sounds like something I would really like. I think I can look past the lecturing for the sake of the story based on your thoughts on it. I will have to look for this one.

Lindsay said...

I really liked the sound of this one when it came out and eventually picked up a second hand copy that is still on my to be read pile. Great review Tracy and glad to hear you thought it was a good rad and a page turner too.

Kelly said...

This sounds like a very good story, despite the several "down sides" you mentioned. The good points probably make those such they could be tolerated.

How nice to already have met one of the What's In a Name requirements! I hope to before the month is out.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

sorry the author "lectured" a bit too much. I like the premise; I find books about WWII and the Holocaust to be interesting.

Suko said...

Thank you for sharing your true thoughts about this book, Tracy. I'm glad you found it to be a real page-turner.

Claudine G. said...

I like war fiction and am currently reading one. This sounds interesting, too, though I admit I'm a bit hesitant about the lecturing parts.

Mamakucingbooks said...

"Twins in all but blood" interesting. Am not really fond of war fiction coz it's usually very sad. But I might just pick up this book coz that sentence pique my interest

Brian Joseph said...

Great review Tracy.

This looks to be something that I would really like. All the elements that you describe are interesting in themselves. Combining them sounds fascinating.

I could see the parts set in the 1950s might seem to be less interesting.

Melliane said...

I used to read a lot of books like that! I love them and I should try again because I'm intrigued.

Sherry Ellis said...

This sounds like a good book. Excellent review of it!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sounds interesting but I do know of a history buff that would love this one even more. Will have to suggest it!

Alexia561 said...

Nice review! I tend to tune out when I feel that the author is lecturing me, but it does sound intriguing!

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

Glad it was worth reading despite the drawbacks. I think I'd find them too much but the story itself sounds good.