By the author of the critically acclaimed international hits The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and TheWarsaw Anagrams, this novel proves Richard Zimler's mastery of the "riveting literary murder mystery" (Independent on Sunday).
Berlin, 1932. Sophie is a smart and sexually precocious 14-year-old coming of age during Hitler's rise to power. Forced to lead a double life when her father and boyfriend become Nazi collaborators, she reserves her dreams of becoming an actress for her beloved elderly neighbor, Isaac Zarco, and his friends, most of whom are Jews working against the government in a secret group called the Ring. When a member is sent to Dachau, she realizes there must be a Nazi traitor in the group - but who?
Through successive mysteries, reversals, surprises, and a race against time The Seventh Gate builds to a shattering end. In its chilling but sensuous evocation of the time and place, Richard Zimler's novel is at once a love story and a tragedy - and a tale of ferocious heroism.
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Beautiful literary tale of 1930s Berlin
For me, yes. The book is long and there are many characters and a lot of foreign phrases (German and Hebrew) so it was very helpful to be "read to" on this occasion. Also, the characters came to life for me very vividly by the reader. Also, there were some very confusing transitions between past and present and flashback, and have the reader guide me there was illuminating.
They are all spoilers so I hesitate to say. I can say though, that it's not a cheery little story; it's deep and intricate and very, very tragic at several points.
She did a good job of reading it. She goes from a first-person dying 89 year old woman recounting her youth: to a 14 year old girl just by adjusting tone and attitude. She handles aging Jewish men, dwarves and deaf circus performers. (The man narrator only read little bits of the chapter breaks and the introduction.) She doesn't do 7,000 different voices, but she tells the story with author intent, which is my preferred kind of narrator.(I am sometimes very puzzled by the divergent opinions about readers; and sometimes shocked by the piercing comments. I guess it's a matter of taste and a very personal choice. 'Nuf said.)
Again, spoiler. There were many, many such moments in the novel. How could there not be
The book is long and I felt Zimler could have pared things down a bit It gave me amazing insights into not only the specific horrors of WWII, but an amazing portrayal of Berlin, the city. I knocked off points because of the excessive length and because of a somewhat anticlimactic end to the solving of the "mystery" part of the story. But then, I like my "mysteries" tied up neatly.
Great story, and I learned a lot!