Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isn't nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind, and best of all--right on their doorstep--are some of the finest craftsmen from all over Europe. Frau Hahn and the other officers' wives living in this small community can order anything they desire, whether new curtains made from the finest French silks, or furniture designed to the most exacting specifications. Life here in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. Lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them--so close and yet so remote--is the looming presence of a work camp. When Frau Hahn is forced into an unlikely and poignant alliance with one of Buchenwald's prisoners, Dr. Lenard Weber, her naïve ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged.
The irony of Catherine Chidgey’s acutely authentic novel’s title infuses the text. No place on earth could have less sympathy than the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp ... This is a long, complex book. The writing is beautifully wrought and the research a result of years of study. The true sympathetic vitaliser here is the novelist. She illustrates the senseless cruelty of the regime and portrays its characters convincingly, not as monsters but deluded, indulged and frightened victims of their own stupidity.
Chidgey (The Wish Child) brilliantly explores the intersecting stories of a former German S.S. officer, his sheltered wife, and a survivor of Buchenwald ... With its multiple registers and complex view of humanity, this marks a vital turn in Holocaust literature.