- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 10 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: August 7, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008U2PRXU
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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City of Women Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
As I write this, it is approximately 2.5 months until the book's release, so the product page may be updated with more info prior to that date. However, in case it is not, I will offer up a larger synopsis:
The story largely takes place in both 1943 Berlin and in Sigrid's reflections on the months before her husband Kaspar was put into the Army and shipped to Russia and when she was having an affair with a Jewish man she met in a movie theater. Throughout the book Sigrid continues going to work at the patent office, flashing back to former times, and then befriending a young girl in her building named Ericha who is working through an informal underground (in that it never belies a connection to any of the named larger underground groups) that is protecting Jews and other "criminals" from deportation. Ultimately Sigrid becomes part of this group while also befriending the half-brother and half-sister of an SS soldier, entering bomb shelters during air force attacks, and facing increased scrutiny from friends and neighbors...many of whom have informed on others.
The book is completely captivating during this entire journey, but in the last 100 pages or so, the larger back story that even Sigrid is unaware of behind her friends and lovers unravels.
What really ended up making this a five star book for me is how real it felt.Read more ›
As Sigrid becomes more involved with the hiding ring, she begins to learn more about the Jewish man with whom she has fallen in love. When a mother and her two daughters arrive in the hiding place, she is convinced that they are the wife and children of her lover. And when her husband unexpectedly returns, injured, from the Russian front, she must find a way to reconcile her private life of wife and worker with her life of furtiveness, anxiety, and threat of discovery by the Gestapo.
As I said, this wasn't an easy, breezy read ... it took considerable effort on my part, even though I found the story to be an engrossing narrative of German fear, brutality, and eventually, redemption. This was a side of the German people that isn't often written about in fiction; those who were willing to risk everything to help complete strangers escape the Hitler killing machine.
From this story, it would appear that the answer was, yes, people did notice, but in order to do anything about the deportation of Jewish people to concentration camps it was necessary to have a great deal of courage. This courage was not only in the actual act of helping Jewish people to hide, but even the courage simply to step outside of what was expected and required of you as a good German. In this story, at the beginning, Sigrid is a good German, who works as a typist at the patent office and lives with her mother-in-law while her husband is off fighting in the east. I really enjoyed following her awakening of consciousness as she first forces herself to take notice of the horrors going on around her and then to take action to combat those horrors. I also found it interesting that Sigrid takes some not completely moral actions in her personal life that are stark contrasts to the actions she is taking to help others.
The reason that I only gave this book a three star rating rather than higher, despite really enjoying many parts of the story, was that at times I feel like the book suffered a bit from "Forrest Gump Syndrome". It seems that the author, in his urgency to ensure that many parts of the Germans' experience during this time period is explored, causes things to happen to Sigrid and those around her that seem too unbelievable. I would, however, recommend that anyone interested in the WW II time period read this book. (less)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a well written and researched novel. So very important that we think of what happened to German women left in Berlin the besieged as WWII took a turn. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Lyn G. Brakeman
I am always interested in how the "other side" coped with the war at home. I have seen so little about how Germans felt about the war and I really wanted to hear their... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jean
City of Women was recommended to me as a good travel read. I love a writer who can transport me to the times and places in the story and Gillham delivers. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sara Megletti
I thought this would be a pretty good story about how German women dealt with WWII. It was a gritty novel, but it just didn't have the appeal for me.Published 2 months ago by BamasLuLu
I finished the book but felt the characters weren't very well developed. I don't think some of the dialogue was representative of the era. A bit simplisticPublished 2 months ago by Kathryn F.