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Historical Fiction set in Germany

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Dec 10th, 2001, 01:15 PM
  #1
Meredith
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Historical Fiction set in Germany

I've been dreaming of Germany lately and hope to make it there in the spring. Until then, can anyone recommend a good historical novel about Germany? I'm interested in fiction that will teach me about the history and culture of Germany and maybe help me figure out my itinerary. Any suggestions?


Thanks!
Meredith
 
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Dec 10th, 2001, 04:41 PM
  #2
Philip
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You might try "The Berlin Stories" by Christopher Isherwood. Part of these stories were what made up the musical "Cabaret".

You may also want to read "Heidi's Alp" by Christina Hardyment. It is a non-fiction book about a woman who took her children traveling across Europe searching for fairytales. There are a few chapters about her search in Germany.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 05:33 AM
  #3
Maira
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"Stones from the River" from Ursula Hegi. You can buy a used copy from Amazon.com for about $1.50. Amazing book.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 07:35 AM
  #4
loa
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"Schindler's List"
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 07:46 AM
  #5
ryan
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Mein Kampf
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 07:56 AM
  #6
jhm
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Since Oskar Schindler was a real person, "Schindler's List" should not be considered fiction.

I would recommend anything by Gunter Grass.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 08:14 AM
  #7
ryan
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As long as we are being technical,
"Berlin Stories" by Christopher Isherwood is not a work of fiction, either.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 09:16 AM
  #8
loa
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Schindler's List the book is classifed as a work of fiction, because for one thing conversations were invented, not reported verbatim. Look it up!
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 11:20 AM
  #9
Philip
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As long as we are being technical, "Berlin Stories" is considered to be a work of fiction.

Mr. Isherwood writes in the introduction: "In writing Goodbye to Berlin, I destroyed a certain portion of my real past. I did this deliberately, because I preferred the simplified, more creditable, more exciting fictitious past which I'd created to take its place."

Berlin Stories may be based on real people he knew, but the events are fiction.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 11:24 AM
  #10
Diane
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head to the library and get Henrich Boll's short stories. They are fantastic.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 12:22 PM
  #11
ingrid
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Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks on Lubeck
Grass and Boll (with Umlaut)
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Doblin (is also a movie)
What kind of books do you like?
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 12:56 PM
  #12
John G
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Meredith, I highly recommend Gunter Grass' TOO FAR AFIELD. This novel explores Germany's reunification with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and also links the past with the present by showing how Germany has historically always been "partitioned." It is very complex, however, and can be difficult to understand for a novice.

Also, as someone with an MA in American Literature, although not German Literature, I can attest to the fact that Christopher Isherwood's "Berlin Stories" is indeed a work of fiction, and that anyone who says otherwise probably failed English in high school.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 01:37 PM
  #13
ellie
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"The Oppermanns" by Lion Feuchtwanger. I happened upon this book after a recent trip to Berlin and found it extraordinarily compelling and disturbing. It was published just before the war as a warning to the world of what was to come in Nazi Germany . It is beautifully written, but paints a very disturbing picture and may prove a better read after your trip than before.
 
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Dec 11th, 2001, 02:21 PM
  #14
jhm
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LOA, if you re-read my post, you will see that I said that it "should not be considered fiction" and was making that assessment with regard to Meredith's search.

I would also recommend Heinrich Boll, as well as Gunter Grass.
 
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Dec 12th, 2001, 03:26 PM
  #15
Emily
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One of my favorite books is Winter by Len Deighton. His descriptions of grandmothers' place in Berlin are great.You feel as if you are there.
 
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Dec 12th, 2001, 08:43 PM
  #16
Miriam
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Hi Meredith,

you got some good advice here already. I highly recommend "Buddenbrooks", too.

One of my favourite books (about a dark chapter in German history) is "Mephisto" by Klaus Mann. I hope the English title is the same. It`s a "roman à clef" about the connection between the art/theatre scene in Germany and the Hitler regime. The main character in the book (Hendrik Hoefgen) is meant to portray the famous actor/director Gustav Gruendgens whose career, although he was supposed to be a real genious, was based on him supporting Hitler. All other characters portray "real" people like Leni Riefenstahl. It`s very intelligently written and great fun to read.

I also recommend anything by Theodor Fontane like "Effi Briest" for Germany in the 19th. century. Hermann Hesse "Unterm Rad"(sorry, don`t know the English title) is also very good.
Two other books come to my mind, especially for people who want to visit Berlin:
"Berlin Alexanderplatz" by Alfred Doeblin, written 1929 and "Die Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull" (1954)by Thomas Mann (always come back to Mann for some reason). I don`t know the English title of the second book, maybe others can help.

Hope this helps and have fun in Germany

Miriam
 
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Aug 18th, 2002, 08:14 PM
  #17
ttt
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ttt
 
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Apr 9th, 2012, 09:54 PM
  #18
 
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Apr 10th, 2012, 12:28 AM
  #19
 
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It's hard actually... I always feel a bit sick in my stomach when I read WWll stories, they don't really inspire me to travel to Germany at all. Sometimes children's books are more inspiring for travel, like the fairytales of the brothers Grimm, or Heidi (which contains some interesting descriptions of Frankfurt, even though the main part of the story is set in Switzerland). For some reason, children's stories inspire wonder and curiosity for the places they describe, they make you want to go there. It depends what you are interested in I guess....
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