Two Brothers

Ben Elton

Two Brothers

Berlin 1920 Two babies are born. "Two brothers". United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood. As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice...Which one of them will survive? Ben Elton's most personal novel to date,"Two Brothers" transports the reader to the time of history's darkest hour. 2.7 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Two Brothers

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 528
RRP
Date of Publication November 2012
ISBN 978-0593062050
Publisher Bantam Press
 

Berlin 1920 Two babies are born. "Two brothers". United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood. As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice...Which one of them will survive? Ben Elton's most personal novel to date,"Two Brothers" transports the reader to the time of history's darkest hour.

Reviews

The Daily Express

Christopher Bray

Redundant research clogs up the workings of his would-be action scenes. Moments of heartbreak have all feeling siphoned out of them because of his need to lecture us on Einstein or Kristallnacht or Palestine. One-dimensional characterisation makes it harder to believe in his unashamedly simplistic tale of gooder than good goodies and bad bad bad baddies ... While reading it though there’s no denying the ease with which one turns the pages.

16/11/2012

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The Daily Mail

Clare Colvin

Elton adds plot twists that have the effect of confusing and irritating the reader when they are revealed towards the end. The liberal use of four-letter words also sounds more suited to present day media dialogue than a conversation in 1920 between a Berlin pater familias and his wife. The subject remains a page turner, however, and the description of the approaching Holocaust is chilling.

15/11/2012

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The Observer

Ben East

An afterword reveals that elements of the narrative are inspired by Elton's family history – his father changed his name from Ehrenberg when they escaped to Britain via Czechoslovakia in 1939. Perhaps that's why he's so dutiful in endlessly detailing the facts of such a hideous time in his "most personal novel to date" – his prerogative, but the history overwhelms the characters he chooses to populate it.

02/12/2012

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The Sunday Times

Nick Rennison

This is a novel of large and laudable ambitions but Elton’s reach exceeds his grasp. His characters, busily telling each other the history of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany, or exchanging stilted dialogue, rarely come to life. He clearly wants to engage with the tragedies of 20th-century Germany, yet what he has written ends up closer to melodrama.

16/12/2012

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The Guardian

Jenny Colgan

Elton's prose is pacy; he can undeniably turn pages. But every time he starts to let his characters live and breathe on paper, he interrupts his own narrative with "but the Nazis have stolen our youth!" or "I don't think this will end well!" He even has a group of 15-year-olds, in 1935 Berlin, discussing seriously how they really mustn't be naughty to the Arabs when they get to Palestine. Characters cannot be people and mouthpieces at the same time; they simply fall apart, as does your patience with the narrator.

07/11/2012

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