Book - 2013
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May, 1940. On Park Crescent, Brighton, Geoffrey and Evelyn Beaumont and their eight-year-old son, Philip, anxiously anticipate the enemy landing on the beaches of Brighton. In what is a year of tension and change, Geoffrey becomes Superintendent of the enemy alien camp at the far reaches of town, while Philip is gripped by the rumour that Hitler will make Brighton's Royal Pavilion his English HQ. As the rumours continue to fly and the days tick on, Evelyn struggles to fall in with the war effort and the constraints of her role in life, and her thoughts become tinged with a mounting, indefinable desperation. Then she meets Otto Gottlieb, a 'degenerate' German-Jewish painter and prisoner in her husband's internment camp. Evelyn's and Otto's mutual distrust slowly begins to transform into something else, which will shatter the structures on which her life, her family and her community rest. Love collides with fear, the power of art with the forces of war, and the lives of Evelyn, Otto and Geoffrey are changed irrevocably.
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Canada, 2013.
ISBN: 9780143190455
Branch Call Number: FIC MACLE
Characteristics: 339 p.


From Library Staff

List - 2018/2019 Book Club
AuroraPLAdult Oct 12, 2018

Meeting: November 28

List - 2018/2019 Book Club
AuroraPLAdult Jun 12, 2018

Meeting: November 28

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Aug 12, 2018

There are lots of things that explode in this page-turner of a novel, especially the relationships between Geoffrey, Evelyn and Otto, and between Phillip and his friends, Orson and Tubby. All the explosions are over things that seem inconsequential or unimportant, but, to paraphrase what the narrator says at one point, evil is mundane, not monstrous.

And there were the things that were left unexploded.

I was drawn into this powerful story of changing relationships in Brighton during WWII, and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.

Mar 04, 2017

This novel has some good elements, but overall it does not work. The anti-Semitism of the British is certainly a theme. However, some plot elements are contrived and some narrative strains superfluous.

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