All That I Am: A Novel by Anna Funder

By Anna Funder

Award-winning writer Anna Funder grants an affecting and wonderfully evocative debut novel a few workforce of younger German exiles who danger their lives to evoke the realm to the terrifying chance of Hitler and Nazi Germany. according to real-life occasions and people, All That I Am brings to mild the heroic, tragic, and actual tale of a small workforce of left-wing German social activists who fastened a fierce and crafty resistance from their perilous London exile, in a singular that fanatics of Suite Francaise, The Piano Teacher, and Atonement will locate impossible to resist and unforgettable.

“An intimate exploration of human connection and our accountability to at least one another.” —Colum McCann, writer of Let the nice global Spin

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His uniform didn’t fit and he failed to salute me. ’ ‘My friend,’ he blubbered. Behind him lay a boy in the grass, also sixteen or seventeen. His eyes were still open. The back of his skull and left ear were blown off. The flies had started to come for the meat. ’ I asked the boy. I knew the cruelty of my question: until the shelling twenty minutes ago he was not alone. Now he was trying not to leave his friend. He was trying not to be left. ’ The boy got up and started to move down the unsealed road, between two rows of thin poplars.

In the summer of 1914 everyone had wanted war, me included. We were told there had been French attacks already, that the Russians were massing on our border. The Kaiser called on us all to defend the nation, whatever our politics or religion. He said, ‘I know no parties, only Germans…’ And then he said, ‘My dear Jews…’ My dear Jews! We were bowled over by our personal invitation to war. War seemed holy and heroic, just as they had taught us at school–something to give our lives meaning and make us pure.

RUTH I take the milk out of the fridge and sniff it. It’s okay. I boil the kettle and take care to pour the water into the cup, not the tin of International Roast. Last week, in a minuscule moment of steaming absent-mindedness, I ended up with an overflowing coffee tin. I wedge a packet of Scotch Finger biscuits under my armpit and take the cup down the hall to the front room. Most old people, I am convinced, live on Scotch Finger biscuits. When I sit back down in front of Toller I spray crumbs everywhere–it’s the Big Bang of biscuits!

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