03 April 2014, The Tablet

The Undertaking

by Audrey Magee

Reviewed by James MoranATLANTIC, 291pp, £12.99Tablet bookshop price £11.70              Tel 01420 592974Aremarkably accomplished first novel by the Irish journalist Audrey Magee, this book tells the story of Peter Faber, a German soldier at the Eastern Front. Peter arranges to marry Katharina Spinell, the only daughter of a down-at-heel Berlin family hoping to progress under Hitler’s leadership. But the wedding is based on logic rather than affection. The service is conducted at a time when the duo have never met and are 1,000 miles apart, with Peter showing little interest in his wife’s photograph. When he subsequently encounters her in person, he is crawling with lice and the stench from his mouth m
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