Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

Life, love — and a little Hitler

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A growing number of book reviewers and bloggers have been giving The Munich Girl their reading time lately, bless them.

I didn’t think I would like this book when I read what it was about,” reader Marie Duess writes in her review at Amazon.  “And I will admit that I felt somewhat uncomfortable while reading it from time to time because I was actually fascinated with it and enjoying it–but how could I? It was about Adolf Hitler’s mistress/wife. Aren’t we supposed to hate her? Hate all things Hitler?”

Marie echoes what a number of readers surely experience when faced with the prospect of a book about Hitler’s mistress, and eventual wife, Eva Braun. eva-braun-scottie-1

“I believe that this book will be one of my more controversial book reviews; not because of the rating, but simply because of the fact it deals with Eva Braun, yes, the wife of that German swine,” writes reviewer and book blogger Svetlana at her Svetlana’s Reads and Views blog. “I was a bit nervous beginning to read the book because I wasn’t sure how that German swine would be portrayed; would he be portrayed in a way that would make me upset, or would he be portrayed in a way that is accurate? ” She notes that to her relief, this isn’t his story at all, but focuses on the lives of its three women, and also “why and how women give themselves up for men’s ambitions.”ebmonogram1

Reviewer Chris Lovegrove picked up on this, too, along with something few reviewers have mentioned yet — the fact that the novel “revolves around symbols which underscore the significances that humans attach to life events. There is Eva’s monogram of an intertwined E and B resembling both a butterfly and a vierblättriges Kleeblatt or four leaf clover; the latter’s often regarded as emblematic of faith, hope, love and luck, the former a symbol of metamorphosis.

Eva_mk_R1B-1“Then there is the poorly executed portrait of Eva by an admirer, a painting that has been in Anna’s mother’s possession since the war. Photographs recur over and over as vital links with past lives (they also punctuate the text); fire appears as if a kind of baptism to a new life; and dreams form another leitmotif, seeming to blend the past and future as dreams so often do.”

Chris Lovegrove’s review goes straight to the book’s heart in so many ways, including that “essentially though this novel is about love; and it’s also about coming home. And of course sometimes the two can be the same thing.”

Find his insightful review at:

https://calmgrove.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/munich

and Svetlana’s good thoughts about the book at:

http://sveta-randomblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/g740-book-review-of-munich-girl-by.html

2 thoughts on “Life, love — and a little Hitler

  1. The Munich Girl is unusual in that it dares to fictionalise a taboo subject, the notion that a monster like Hitler could be loved as a human being by someone essentially decent and not because he was primarily a representative of people’s prejudices or false beliefs or selfish hopes.

    This is difficult to treat sensitively — so much easier to portray him as a crazed megalomaniac — but although you achieve this sensitivity it is still going to prove a barrier to many readers’ instinctive fear of the taint of Nazism. I think most reviewers would want to emphasise their distaste for everything to do with the man. Perhaps also a distaste for what Lowell stands for — an obsession with military history and especially the Nazi war machine. Your novel is very much the antithesis of that sadly very male kind of approach.

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