'When Hitler came to power I was in the bath. The wireless in the living room was turned up loud, but all that drifted down to me were waves of happy cheering, like a football match. It was Monday afternoon ...'
Ruth Becker, defiant and cantankerous, is living out her days in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. She has made an uneasy peace with the ghosts of her past - and a part of history that has been all but forgotten. Another lifetime away, it's 1939 and the world is going to war. Ernst Toller, self-doubting revolutionary and poet, sits in a New York hotel room settling up the account of his life. When Toller's story arrives on Ruth's doorstep, their shared past slips under her defences and she's right back among them - those friends who predicted the brutality of the Nazis and gave everything they had to stop them. Those who were tested - and in some cases found wanting - in the face of hatred, of art, of love, and of history.
Based on real people and events, this novel is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices some people make for their beliefs, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places. Anna Funder confirms her place as one of our finest writers with this gripping, compassionate, inspiring first novel.