This elegant, haunting novel from the award-winning author of In The Cut and The Whiteness of Bones, set in Germany on the eve of the Second World War, is the story of one woman’s journey of self-discovery as a continent collapses into darkness.
Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, finds herself at the center of a fairy tale, whisked away from her humdrum life by a mysterious countess to join the Berlin household of the Metzenburgs, an enchanting, aristocratic couple whose vast holdings of art include a priceless collection of lace. But as Beatrice is introduced to the highly rarified world of affluence and art collecting, the greater drama of Germany’s aggression begins to overshadow it.
Retreating with Beatrice to their country estate, the Metzenburgs do their best to ignore the encroaching war, until the realities of hunger and illness, as well as the even graver dangers of Nazi terror—the deportation and murder of Jews, hordes of refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army—begin to threaten their very existence. While the Metzenburgs become the virtual lord and lady of a growing population of men and women in hiding, Beatrice, increasingly attached to the family and its unlikely wartime community, bears heartrending witness to the atrocities of the age.
“I find this book exhilarating—truly exciting, new, everything good—the people, the clothes, the food: every word.” (Joan Didion, National Book Award–winning author)
“This is a deceptively simple novel that manages that uncanny trick of great fiction: turning the familiar (ambitious provincial girl, World War II, glamorous aristocrats) into a thrilling, enchanting story you’ve never encountered before. Imagine Downton Abbey crossed with In the Garden of Beasts as fashioned by a literary master at the peak of her powers.” (Kurt Andersen, New York Times best-selling author)
“In The Life of Objects, Susanna Moore tells the story of a young woman’s initiation into the worlds of beauty, suffering, cynicism, and grace. What astounds me about this work is its ability to attend with equal fidelity to the quiet nuances of self-discovery and the deceptions and depravities of World War II. This is a lyrical and courageous book.” (Tracy K. Smith, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry)
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Beautifully written and read, haunting and impactf
I like Susanna Moore and make an effort to read each of her books as they are published. This one is my favorite of the past few years. Follows a 14 year old girl into Germany and the war, revealing events through the experiences of the household where she lives. A serious book but engaging story. I lost myself in this world.