10 April 2015

Review: TWO BROTHERS, Ben Elton

  • first published in Great Britain in 2012 by Bantam Press
  • ISBN 978-0-593-06205-0
  • 522 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Random House)

Berlin 1920

Two babies are born.
Two brothers. United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood.

As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice....Which one of them will survive?

Ben Elton's most personal novel to date,Two Brothers transports the reader to the time of history's darkest hour.

Read a free chapter

My take

TWO BROTHERS is on the edge of crime fiction, but there is plenty of mystery. In 1956 Russian born British citizen John Stone, living and working in London in the Foreign Office as a translator, receives a letter from East Germany from his sister in law, whom he has thought of as dead for the past decade. MI5 is also interested in why he has received this letter. Do the Stasi in East Germany want to set him up as a spy, and who is the woman who has contacted him?

The setting gives Elton the opportunity to explore the past, to go back to the rise of Hitler, and the establishment of anti-Semitism as German government policy. So in a sense this is a historical novel, which gives a glimpse of what it was like to be a Jew in Berlin from the 1930s onwards.

Elton based this novel on the stories of his two uncles who fought on opposing sides in World War II.

This is a longer novel, but well worth the investment of time.

My rating: 4.7

I've also reviewed THE FIRST CASUALTY set in World War I

1 comment:

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Kerrie,

This is one author I have never read, although I have seen plenty of his books on the shelves.

Being a Brit, I can only remember and picture Ben Elton as a stand-up comedian, together with his roles in various TV comedy series, so I guess I have never really taken his work as an author seriously enough to check him out.

I spotted your review link on Twitter and this prompted me to investigate further ... Ben's books are certainly on my list for future reading after seeing the positive ratings and reviews they have attracted, so thanks for sharing and making me sit up and take notice!

I also never had any idea that Ben had now moved to Oz :)

Yvonne.

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