Somewhere in Germany is the sequel to the acclaimed Nowhere in Africa, which was turned into the Oscar-winning film of the same name. This novel traces the return of the Redlich family to Germany after their nine-year exile in Kenya during World War II. In Africa, Walter had longed for his homeland and dreamed of rebuilding his life as a lawyer, yet ultimately he and his family - wife Jettel, daughter Regina, and baby Max - realize that Germany seems as exotic and unwelcoming to them in 1947 as Kenya had seemed in 1938. Hunger and desperation are omnipresent in bombed-out Frankfurt, and this Jewish family - especially Regina, who misses Africa the most - has a hard time adjusting to their new circumstances.
Yet slowly the family adapts to their new home amidst the ruins. In Frankfurt, Regina matures into a woman and, though her parents want her to marry an upstanding Jewish man, her love life progresses in its own idiosyncratic fashion. She develops a passion for art and journalism and begins her professional career at a Frankfurt newspaper. Walter at last finds professional success as a lawyer, but never quite adjusts to life in Frankfurt, recalling with nostalgia his childhood in Upper Silesia and his years in Africa. Only his son Max truly finds what Walter had hoped for: A new homeland in Germany.
Although the Redlichs receive kindness from strangers, they also learn anti-Semitism still prevails in post-Nazi Germany. They partake in the West German "economic miracle" with their own home, a second-hand car, and the discovery of television, but young Max's discovery of the Holocaust revives long-buried memories. Rich in memorable moments and characters, this novel portrays the reality of postwar German society in vivid and candid detail.
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Schizophrenic-but not entertaining "Sybil" variety
I wanted to glimpse life in post-war Germany. The book was successful in such a glimpse. Unfortunately, it felt like she took a diary and tried to weave it with a related historic novel. We were introduced to characters over and over who were then left undeveloped. I wanted to know more about Martin, I wanted to know why Schlahinski was arrested, what came of the arrest, how he ended up free. I wanted to better know her thoughts on sleeping with her boss and how that affected her faith and her soul. Did it go on forever? How did she break it off? Only a handful of numerous unanswered questions.
She should have abandoned the diary and written a historic novel.
Max did a reasonable performance - I would listen to him again.
Look elsewhere for you post war snapshot of life.