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Winter, January 1945. It is cold and dark, and the German army is
retreating from the Russian advance. Germans are fleeing the occupied
territories in their thousands, in cars and carts and on foot. But in a
rural East Prussian manor house, the wealthy von Globig family tries to
seal itself off from the world. Peter von Globig is twelve, and feigns a
cough to get out of his Hitler Youth duties, preferring to sledge behind
the house and look at snowflakes through his microscope. His father
Eberhard is stationed in Italy - a desk job safe from the front - and his
bookish and musical mother Katharina has withdrawn into herself. Instead
the house is run by a conservative, frugal aunt, helped by two Ukrainian
maids and an energetic Pole. Protected by their privileged lifestyle from
the deprivation and chaos around them, and caught in the grip of
indecision, they make no preparations to leave, until Katharina's decision
to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing.

Walter Kempowski—All For Nothing

  • 9781847087218
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