Review of book, film, TV, video, software, performance, music etc
Open Access Status
Place of publication
Clayton, VIC, Australia
Monash University ePress
‘When Hitler came to power I was in the bath’ exclaims the curtain-raising sentence of Funder’s thrilling historical novel and thus thrusts straight to the heart of what this genre is all about: the fusing of verifiable historical events with imagined personal, intimate experiences. Ostensibly, this highly character-driven narrative tells the story of five anti-Nazi émigrés, all based on real-life persons. We obtain insights into their lives through the unassuming Ruth Becker, who glides back into her memories as soon as she slips out of contemporary consciousness, and genial playwright and revolutionary Ernst Toller. The focal point of both of their lives, and of the novel, is the sparkling heroine Dora, untiring activist and fearless Hitler opponent. Below the surface of their intertwined lives, embedded in a rich historical casing, in her happy mélange of espionage thriller, love story, life narrative and historical account, Funder both explores and demands her readers consider philosophical questions of love, friendship, courage, duplicity, integrity, memory, survival and aging...