The Undertaking

The Undertaking

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
7
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Desperate to escape the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina, a woman he has never met; it is a marriage of convenience that promises "honeymoon" leave for him and a pension for her should he die on the front. With 10 days' leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin, and both are surprised by the attraction that develops between them. Peter returns to the horror of the front. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into the Nazi party hierarchy.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd,, [2014]
Edition: First Canadian edition
ISBN: 9781443422963
Branch Call Number: FICTION MAG
Characteristics: 287 pages ; 24 cm

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WVMLlibrarianCathy Feb 17, 2016

An engaging story of two young Germans set in WWII. If you liked All the Light We Cannot See, you will love this!


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JaniceDeG
Sep 20, 2016

Well paced, engrossing read but a very sad and unsettling story of the rise and fall of greed, ego and hardship.

g
GilbertMartin
Jul 20, 2016

Although this book is ostensibly about the relationship between two young Germans during WWII, they appear together only at the very beginning and very end of the story. So I think it is more about the wartime experiences of each one in very different settings: Leningrad and Berlin. As others have pointed out, the main point of the book are the moral and psychological pressures on people under extremely difficult circumstances. Very realistic, gritty depiction of ordinary people's lives under Nazism.

t
TheresaAJ
May 10, 2016

The novel explores the lives of two Germans from 1941 to 1953. Peter Faber marries Katharina Spinell on the battlefield to get a honeymoon leave from the Russian front in 1941. When he arrives in Berlin, he spends three weeks helping his new father-in-law and the mysterious Dr. Weinart with evening activities while getting to know his new wife. Shortly after returning to Russia, Peter learns that he will be a father. Written in strong, spare language, this novel follows Peter's harrowing journey as an infantry soldier on the eastern front and Katharina's journey from barely making ends meet to enjoy luxuries from the Nazi Party to barely making ends meet again. This is not the story for those who want a happy ending.

WVMLlibrarianCathy Feb 17, 2016

An engaging story of two young Germans set in WWII. If you liked All the Light We Cannot See, you will love this!

2
21221018293347
May 24, 2015

I always like a fast, easy read. This is one of those books. The main characters are interesting and engaging; other characters are not so well developed. This is a good look at the German ground soldiers heading to the Russian front, blindly following Berlin's orders.

a
asteraurora
Aug 06, 2014

The prose is very clear, crisp and spare - perfect for creating characters whose casual acceptance of the Nazi party line is quite disburbing. However the author's skill is such that she creates humanly believable characters - and I became completely absorbed in Peter & Katherina's journey.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 20, 2014

Although initially sceptical about a book in which there are no gradations of right and wrong, I became convinced that this is a powerful story about Nazi greed and the everyday nature and pettiness of corruption. It tells alternating stories of a man fighting on the Russian front and his wife in Berlin, both of whom could be characterized by "moral blankness". Recommended.

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