The Aftermath
Rhidian Brook

by

Sharon Fleming

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Context

Context

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a fictional book set in Hamburg, Germany in the post-war period. Published in the United Kingdom by Penguin in 2013, the book has been translated into twenty-five languages. In 1946, Germany was under British occupation and charged with the task of de-Nazification and rebuilding the ruined city under the supervision of Colonel Lewis (Woodward par.1). The book narrates a place and time not often discussed in the literature, post-World War II Germany, 1946. The novel shows the effects of war, such as destroyed buildings, unburied bodies, dirty and hungry men, women and children trying to start their lives from scratch. The Aftermath was inspired by the authors’ family history where Brook’s grandfather, who requisitioned a house in Hamburg in the year 1946, made the decision of sharing it with its owners instead of displacing them (Davis par. 6). Based on real family history, Brook has evoked a much-unheeded occurrence in history where a new order had to be established as well as trust regained.  The Aftermath focuses on family members who are still accepting the loss of their loved ones as well as their nation. Notably, The Aftermath plays a significant role in history since it explores the most overlooked part of history, the aftermath of war. The novel narrates to the readers the effect of war, challenges of reuniting people and things, as well as bringing unity to two nations that view each other with contempt and blame. Brook focuses on revealing the devastated state of a nation after the war, such as orphans of all ages running free in torn and oversized clothes searching for food, surrounded by dead bodies lying everywhere, and families searching for their missing loved ones.

About the Author

Rhidian Brook (born in 1964) attended Churcher’s College in Hampshire and left in 1982.  Brook is a screenwriter, novelist, and broadcaster. The author has written different books such as the Testimony of Taliesin Jones, which was awarded different prizes, such as the ‘Somerset Maugham Award’. His third book, The Aftermath was published in April 2013 and has been made into a film with the same title. Brook published his fourth book, The Killing of Butterfly Joe in March 2018. Brook has also written short stories, which have appeared in various publications including the Time Out, Paris Review, and New Statesman. Additionally, Brook has written various articles for newspapers, including The Guardian, The Observer, and the Daily Telegraph. Rhidian Brook has also been a regular contributor to Radio 4’s “Thought for the Day” for over twelve years (Brook par.2). Brook lives in London with his wife and his two children “Rhidian, Brook” par.1).

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