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Quick Review: Two Brothers by Ben Elton

By Zoë Hinis for The Times:

Two Brothers follows the story of a Berlin family from 1920 through to 2006 . When Frieda gives birth to twins and one dies, she adopts another son. That the child is German is unimportant to this Jewish mother, and the first quarter of the book is filled with lovely character-establishing stories.

Two Brothers combines outstanding research with several levels of human pain. The insanity of the regime is looked at in the Nazi schooling, the petty laws and in two key events: The Night of the Long Knives and The Night of Broken Glass.

In the 60-odd years since the Holocaust, the Nazi regime has become so simplified that sometimes we need a book that explains the slow, fine grinding away of Jewish lives.

Elton does not trivialise violence by keeping it at the epi-centre, but keeps it menacingly in the background.

This is an edited version of a review that first appeared on Hinis’ blog,

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