Rate this book

Moederland (2014)

by Maria Hummel(Favorite Author)
3.76 of 5 Votes: 3
9401601526 (ISBN13: 9789401601528)
Xander Uitgevers B.V.
review 1: It is no secret that I love World War II home front stories. And I suppose it is really no secret how I particularly love WWII home front stories set in Germany. The lives of ordinary Germans during the war fascinate me. This book was inspired by Hummel's family history - stories told by her father and letters she found in the walls of her family's home. Like so much fiction about this era written by Germans it seems an attempt to reconcile a soft personal history with a hard international history. As an American woman with a German family history from this era I am sympathetic to the desire for harmony, or at least a coming to terms. In this book Hummel gives us the Kappus family. Frank is a doctor and a widower who takes a second wife, Liesl. She comes into the family to... more care for his young sons and an infant child, the baby during whose birth his first wife died. This is a lonely position for Liesl, a woman who is unsure whether she can ever really be a full wife and mother to a family lost in grief. Dark as that start is when Frank is drafted into service Liesl becomes still more alone. She is tasked with caring for two young boys through air raids, food shortages and an influx of refugees sent to live in their home. She is struggling to manage this burden when one son starts to mentally break down. It is unclear what is causing his trouble and talking to doctors is met with a threat to institutionalize him in a famously bleak hospital for "unfit" children. Liesl has sporadic contact with her husband through coded letters, and then one day the letters stop coming all together. At several points in the story I was stunned to see it take an even darker turn. Each of these characters is in an impossible situation and none is able to support the others as they need. A secondary story line about Liesl's girlhood friend who comes to her from Berlin where she has been living the high life is no more comforting. The whole thing is dark and upsetting but so very human. It is a powerful book infused with guilt and hardship and hurt.
review 2: Despite not totally believing the level of Nazi ignorance of the main character-parents in this fictionalized story from the author's family history, Hummel does a remarkable job of us humanizing without forgiving the broader context of Germans' daily lives during WWII. In focusing on the woman left to fend for their families (and their children's psyche), the author salves readers' sympathy guilt by providing minimal wartime chronicle or context. I found the child Ani's story particularly bittersweet. Often overlooked in WWII fiction - unless it's children's literature - is the impact of war on the development of children. This story will stay with me for some time. less
Reviews (see all)
Powerful and moving story of the lives of average German citizens in 1944 and 1945.
Not my typical choice. This was the story of a German family at the end of WW2.
A novel set in Germany during WWII.
Blander than bland.
Write review
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)
Other books by Maria Hummel