Susanna Moore The Life of Objects

ISBN 13: 9780307388827

The Life of Objects

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9780307388827: The Life of Objects

Berlin, 1938. When Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, is whisked away from her dreary life to join the household of Felix and Dorthea Metzenburg, she feels like she’s landed in the middle of a fairy tale. Art collectors, and friends to the most fascinating men and women of Europe, the Metzenburgs are part of a world where there is more to desire than she ever imagined.
 
However Germany has launched its campaign of aggression across Europe, and, before long, the conflict reaches the family’s threshold. Retreating to their country estate, the Metzenburgs do their best to ignore the encroaching war until the realities of hunger, illness, and Nazi terror begin to threaten their very existence. In searing and emotional detail, The Life of Objects illuminates Beatrice’s journey from childhood to womanhood, from naïveté to wisdom, as a continent collapses into darkness around her.

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Review:

Guest Review: Sarah Blake on The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore
Sarah Blake is the author of the novels Grange House, and The Postmistress, a New York Times Bestseller and winner of South Africa's Boeke Prize.

Many years ago, I heard Susanna Moore read from her terrifying novel In the Cut. I was riveted by her voice as slowly, steadily, and with unflinching surety, she read aloud the snuffing of a character’s life. As she neared the end, the entire bookstore forgot to breathe. Moore, performing a high wire act if ever there was one, led us coolly but with great sympathy into a world of darkness.

She was, that night, our Beatrice into Hell, and her new novel, The Life of Objects, offers another Beatrice leading us into the specific and largely untold story of the hell endured by the civilian German population caught in World War II. You may think you’ve read all there is to read about this war, but you will not have read anything like this.

“My name is Beatrice Adelaide Palmer,” the novel begins. “I was born in 1921 in Ballycarra, County Mayo, the only child of Elizabeth Givens and Morris Palmer of Palmerston.” Like Jane Eyre, or the heroines of Dickens or Trollope (whom this Beatrice reads avidly), Beatrice Palmer yearns past the borders of her life, into a wider world than her Irish village. And when a beautiful Countess notices Beatrice’s lace handiwork at a ball, and proposes to whisk her away to Berlin to visit her friends the Metzenburgs, possessed of a great house and “the best manners in Europe,” it seems this Beatrice has been touched by fortune. The year is 1938.

When the Countess and Beatrice arrive in Berlin, they discover that the Metzenburgs are in flight to their estate in the country, and though Beatrice is free to return to Ireland, she chooses to join the household as a lacemaker. She stays with them through the war’s beginnings, its long years, and its destructive end—when the Russian Army, murderous, vengeful, and random in its cruel attention, sweeps through the countryside.

Like A Woman in Berlin, this novel describes the horror of being caught in the web of indifferent historical forces. But what is new here, and the source of its power, is the ignorance and simplicity of its young narrator. Beatrice’s unsentimental, precise account of what happens in the last days of the war renders the horrible even more unfathomable. We know with the hindsight of history what it means when a beloved schoolteacher has vanished, or when an American soldier appears in the woods. But in Beatrice’s telling, she does not. And so the war begins to seem like something out of one of Grimm’s horrors. With the force of a folktale, The Life of Objects got me in its grip and has not let me go.

About the Author:

Susanna Moore is the author of the novels The Big Girls, One Last Look, In the Cut, Sleeping Beauties, The Whiteness of Bones, and My Old Sweetheart, and two books of nonfiction, Light Years: A Girlhood in Hawai’i and I Myself Have Seen It: The Myth of Hawai’i.  She lives in New York City.

www.susannamoore.com

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Book Description Vintage Books, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Berlin, 1938. When Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, is whisked away from her dreary life to join the household of Felix and Dorthea Metzenburg, she feels like she s landed in the middle of a fairy tale. Art collectors, and friends to the most fascinating men and women of Europe, the Metzenburgs are part of a world where there is more to desire than she ever imagined. However Germany has launched its campaign of aggression across Europe, and, before long, the conflict reaches the family s threshold. Retreating to their country estate, the Metzenburgs do their best to ignore the encroaching war until the realities of hunger, illness, and Nazi terror begin to threaten their very existence. In searing and emotional detail, The Life of Objects illuminates Beatrice s journey from childhood to womanhood, from naivete to wisdom, as a continent collapses into darkness around her. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780307388827

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Book Description Vintage Books, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Berlin, 1938. When Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, is whisked away from her dreary life to join the household of Felix and Dorthea Metzenburg, she feels like she s landed in the middle of a fairy tale. Art collectors, and friends to the most fascinating men and women of Europe, the Metzenburgs are part of a world where there is more to desire than she ever imagined. However Germany has launched its campaign of aggression across Europe, and, before long, the conflict reaches the family s threshold. Retreating to their country estate, the Metzenburgs do their best to ignore the encroaching war until the realities of hunger, illness, and Nazi terror begin to threaten their very existence. In searing and emotional detail, The Life of Objects illuminates Beatrice s journey from childhood to womanhood, from naivete to wisdom, as a continent collapses into darkness around her. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780307388827

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