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madbkwm

madbkwm

The Life of Objects - Susanna Moore I like the relationship between the title and the story; it is not just the life of object it is the life that is given through objects. When the story opens and the reader first meets Felix he is obsessed with his objects. Clearly the impression is given that the objects themselves are more important than much else (including his or Dorothea's safety). However, as the war unfolds and Felix sells off item by item it becomes clear that the objects are a means to an end and one begins to wonder if Felix resistance to leaving Germany was not because he prizes his objects as much as it is that he can't bear being unable to help others.

Unfortunately, I was not crazy about the Beatrice/Meave character. I understood her desire to leave backwoods Ireland and the appeal of Inez and Berlin. I also understood that she didn't have a relationship with her mother and so was not in a hurry to return to Ireland. However, I found it trite and a bit oversimplified that she essentially adopts Felix and Dorothea as substitute parents (and they she, as a daughter). It was not quite believable to me that she would remain there throughout the war and that after the war she wouldn't even think of going home until after Felix was dead. Moore addresses this briefly: "Had the men not been sent to the war and the maids not been forced into slave labor, I would have disappeared into the sewing room with my bobbin and thread. I knew that the war had given me a life.", but it felt like an afterthought and attempt to justify her very implausible scenario.

I was also annoyed by the pregnancy. The rape scene was believable (and probable) enough, but typically women do not end up pregnant from rape and it just felt like Moore was stretching so that she could write the gross miscarriage and burial scene.

I liked the passages about the post-war occupation of Germany. I have read a bunch of WWII stuff, but nothing that covers this period of time, especially for the newly colonized Communist zones. It is interesting to watch as Felix, who certainly practiced Marxist principals during the war, was vilified as a landholder in the new socialist republic.

There were a few good quotes: "'You're distracted tonight.' His fingers encircled her wrist. 'I don't believe in distraction,' she said, pulling away from him, 'It's a way to be innocent and guilty at the same time.' 'I find it useful,' he said." and
"he one believed that humanism had been founded on the shared need to know. It had grown more and more apparent to him, however, that the opposite was true--we were united by our shared need not to know. 'By the time that we understand what is happening', he said, we are already complicit."

Overall it is an easy, relatively quick read but I wasn't very impressed. It felt like a lot of other Nazi WWI stories and there wasn't anything that ultimately stood out.