Two Brothers, Ben Elton

two broIt’s been too long since I last read an epic tale like this one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read such a captivating drama since Gregory’s Wideacre trilogy had me  captive.

Elton’s book gripped me from the first page and had me hanging by a thread until the very end. There was only one moment where he lost me, but I’ll forgive him that because the book itself was just too otherwise perfect.

Elton weaves two narratives. The first in the past, Berlin 1920 to be precise. The story of a Jewish woman who gives birth to twins. The story of this woman and her family forms the basis of the narrative and unfolds parallel to the birth of Hitler’s Nazi party. Elton has managed to convey the flurry of insanity which engulfed Germany in this post war period. The uncertainty, the beauty, the mania. He does it while simultaneaously moulding Frieda Stengel and her beloved husband, Wolfgang, into characters that we as readers have no choice but to love.

Elton’s second narrative occurs in 1956. And about this I will say nothing for it will simply spoil the magic of the two tales.

For me, part of the aura of this book was the historical context but never did that over power the magic of Elton’s characters. The generous Frieda, her two sons, her trumpet playing husband and of course the beautiful Dagmar and loving Silke.

This book will surely resonate with me for a long time and if you are a fan of historical fiction I can’t recommend it enough. You will not be disappointed.

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