Set in Berlin just after the end of World War II, Joseph Kanon's The Good German, now a major motion picture, is a brilliant thriller about the end of one war and the beginning of another, by the bestselling author of Los Alamos.
Berlin, 1945. Hitler has been defeated, and Berlin is divided into zones of occupation. Jake Geismar, an American correspondent who spent time in the city before the war, has returned to write about the Allied triumph while pursuing a more personal quest: his search for Lena, the married woman he left behind. When an American soldier's body is found in the Russian zone during the Potsdam Conference, Jake stumbles on the lead to a murder mystery.
Jason Kanon's The Good German is a story of espionage and love, an extraordinary recreation of a city devastated by war, and a thriller that asks the most profound ethical questions in its exploration of the nature of justice, and what we mean by good and evil in times of peace and of war.
Again taking one of the 20th century's most momentous periods as a backdrop, Kanon recreates Berlin in the months following WWII in this lavishly atmospheric thriller overburdened with political and romantic intrigue. Though driven by strong characters and rich historical detail, the book ultimately falters under the weight of a ponderous, edgeless plot. At the center of the drama is Jake Geismar, a journalist who arrives in Berlin ostensibly to cover the Potsdam Conference. In reality, he's consumed with finding his prewar lover, Lena, with whom he carried on a torrid affair unbeknownst to her husband. Before he finds her, however, Geismar becomes intrigued by the murder of an American soldier whose body washes ashore near the conference grounds. The military's reluctance to investigate or provide any details of the murder convinces Geismar that this could be his big story. Though he's warned not to meddle, Geismar can't resist the story's draw. His investigation leads him deeply into Berlin's agonizing struggle for survival its black market, its collective guilt and its citizens' feeble attempts to wash themselves clean of wartime atrocities. And, most importantly, Geismar learns of the Allies' frantic attempts to round up Nazi scientists, including Lena's husband, Emil, whose expertise with missiles made Germany such a fierce enemy. Kanon (Los Alamos; The Prodigal Spy) is at his strongest when giving voice to the hard choices and moral dilemmas of the times, yet he labors at bringing his plot to a close and blurs its core in the process. While his descriptive skills have never been sharper the writing is uniformly elegant Kanon's third thriller since leaving his job as a publising executive digs in when it should be attacking. BOMC featured selection; $150,000 marketing campaign; movie rights optioned by Warner Bros.; 12-city author tour.
Wow, great book
One of the best books I’ve read in awhile. Full of suspense.
Extraordinary insight into post war Berliners
When I think about the WWII, I think about the battles etc and the grand scheme of history. But this book makes you think about the people who lived that war, who barely survived and how they survived. Ordinary people, not monsters out to run the world, just trying to live ordinary lives in an unthinkable, unbearable environment. What would I have done in their place? What would you?
The good German
This book is a hidden gem.The plot is plausible like it could really have happened.