A story of three German families in the prelude to World War I trying to cope with the changes coming so fast that they find themselves a bit confused as to what should be done and how should things be done. Two Catholic families and one Jewish family from Berlin form the crux of the story. We have the Feldens - they look after their two chimpanzees as part of the family, eccentric and quirky, they do not see another way of life and look askance at others and the way they live. We next have the Bernins - more active in the political life of the country, a government minister, people holding positions of importance and next we have the Merzes a house full of extended family whose endless arguments and conversations lead nowhere other than to more complicated confusion than before.
Almost comedy because we have all the characters bar one living in a time capsule of their own, no relevance to present and coming events. We only have Sarah who is aware of coming events as well as her life as it is, realizing very early on that her husband is a no gooder and deciding to separate from him to the horror of the whole community.
In other reviews it has been mentioned that the attitude of families like these led very easily to the horror of the Nazi regime. That each family lived in its own vacuum never seeing what was in front of them. It is a question that I could not answer from this book. It was not an easy read despite being a smallish book.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Turtles All the Way Down; John Green - Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon...
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