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 an award-winning writer of fiction, television, and film. His debut novel, The Testimony of Taliesin Jones, won the Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask Award, and the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review and New Statesman. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
Praise for The Aftermath…
"Rhidian Brook’s arresting novel brings vividly to life a little-told aspect of World War II.” —Claire Messud
"Superb. . . . Conjures 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 Guardian (London)
"A brilliant novel. . . . A moving, always enthralling journey into the dark and light of history." —Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland
"A captivating tale of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance. . . . It poses many complex questions." —Literary Review
"Reading The Aftermath, one can't help but wonder if this is the sort of literary memorialization . . . that Sebald might have wished for." —The Washington Post
“A fine, moving novel. . . . Brook addresses weighty themes—forgiveness, familial loss—with a light touch . . . . Bring[s] to mind no less a novel than J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun.” —Financial Times
“Brook is wonderful at evoking the atmosphere of this forgotten time and place. . . . Brook handles the often shocking turn of events with a spareness matched to the harshness of that winter . . . There is much to think about here. It is a moral book but not a moralising one.” —The Times (London)
“Engrossing. . . . Brook is a master with mixing the mundane details with characters’ trials and tribulations. . . . This story of passion, betrayal and ultimate truth and forgiveness will have you hooked.” —Portland Book Review
“Profoundly moving. . . . Brook’s beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt and forgiveness. . . . The meticulous integrity of [his] prose style builds a narrative of chastened humans . . . turning back from the brink.” —The Independent (London)
“Masterly. . . . The story develops with many a deft twist. . . . Brook wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation, and his vignettes of war-ravaged Hamburg are superb.” —Mail on Sunday
“A stylish, heart-searching, and convincing story. . . . Memorably refashions this period.” —The Herald (Scotland)
“An entertaining blend of romance, history and suspense, one to which Brook’s style is perfectly suited: it’s sturdy, stripped down with the just the right amount of gnarled beauty poking through the cracks.” —The Toronto Star
“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
“Riveting. . . . Emotionally charged. . . . Fans of WWII-era historical fiction will be drawn to this novel.” —Publishers Weekly