Hamburg, 1946. In the British Occupied Zone, thousands of Germans are wandering the rubble, lost and homeless, and Colonel Lewis Morgan is charged with overseeing the rebuilding of their devastated city. He is stationed in a grand house on the River Elbe; his wife, Rachel--still grieving for their older son--and their only surviving son, Edmund, will soon be will soon be joining him there.
But when Lewis meets the German owners of the house, a widower and his rebellious daughter, he cannot bring himself to throw them out into the streets. Instead, he insists that the two families live together. In this charged atmosphere, parents and children alike will be forced to confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal, their deepest desires, their fiercest loyalties, and the transforming power of forgiveness.
About the Author
Rhidian Brook is a previous winner of the Somerset Maughan Award, a Betty Trask Award winner and his first two novels were published by Harper Collins. He is a high profile radio broadcaster on Radio 4. His film, 'Mr Harvey Lights a Candle' with Timothy Spall was seen by millions in 2005 on BBC 1.
“Rhidian Brook’s arresting novel brings vividly to life a little-told aspect of World War II: its aftermath. His story—energetically and authoritatively told—is unsettling and compelling, suffused with suffering and, mercifully, some hope.” —Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
“Brook’s masterly novel . . . wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation, and his vignettes of war-ravaged Hamburg are superb.” —The Mail on Sunday
“Brook’s beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt, and forgiveness . . . Profoundly moving.” —The Independent
“Reading The Aftermath, one can’t help but wonder if this is the sort of literary memorialization (albeit from a British author) that Sebald might have wished for.” —Washington Post
“Superb . . . Conjuring surprise after surprise as it shows how the forces of politics and history penetrate even the most intimate moments of its characters’ emotional lives . . . The house on the Elbe [is] akin to Hamlet’s Elsinore.” —The Guardian
“A moving, always enthralling journey into the dark and light of history. Rhidian Brook has written a brilliant novel.” —Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland
“Brook is wonderful at evoking the atmosphere of this forgotten time and place . . . There is much to think about here.” —The Times (London)
“Brook’s excellent novel [is] a captivating tale of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance . . . It does what all good novels should do: it poses many complex questions and resists neat, topped-and-tailed answers.” —Literary Review
“Brook addresses weighty themes—forgiveness, familial loss—with a light touch . . . Brings to mind no less a novel than J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun.” —Financial Times
“Rhidian Brook takes a piece of history I thought I knew well and breaks it open; The Aftermath is a compelling, surprising, and moving novel.” —Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests