Berlin Stories

29 Aug

As Berlin continues to have a reputation as a vital and exciting world capitol, it also provides an alluring setting for any number of War War II era thrillers including Erik Larsen’s last opus In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. Most notably Phillip Kerr has set most of early Bernie Gunther in Berlin which makes sense as Gunther is a Berlin homicide detective. Not to be overlooked is a trilogy of novels by Rebecca Cantrell, set in the early 30’s Berlin,following crime reporter Hannah Vogel
through Nazi mayhem and criminal intrigue.

City of Women by David Gillham

Now comes David R. Gillham’s debut novel, City of Women(Amy Einhorn Books/ Putnam) presenting a picture of Berlin 1943—as the tide is turning, with the Nazi military machine broadening its grasp for cannon fodder, Berlin has become a virtual city of women.In this story, Sigrid Schroeder, whose former bank official husband is serving on the killing fields of the Eastern Front takes on a mysterious Jewish lover and becomes involved in efforts to hide and transport Jews out of Berlin. This convolution of her previously uneventful and tedious life provides all manner of tension and danger with Gillham draws out with alacrity and pulse raising prose. Alan Furst, who knows a thing or two about wartime atmosphere in Europe, extolls, “‘City of Women,’ is built on one of the most extraordinary and faithful recreations of a time in history—Berlin in World War II—that I’ve ever read.”

Currently reading Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe (Little Brown)

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