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All That I Am    by Anna Funder order for
All That I Am
by Anna Funder
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Oprah Magazine calls All That I Am by Anna Funder 'Enthralling.' Wall Street Journal chimes in with 'Imaginative, compassionate and convincing.'

Not bad for a first novel, 'A riveting story of passion, courage, political idealism and betrayal.' It's 1939. Hitler's popularity is mind boggling. There exists a group in Germany, who have felt for some years the future includes a war and Germany is about to start it. They begin a secret resistance campaign with their very lives at stake.

The poet Ernst Toller is now living in New York City, having been exiled from Germany. He occupies his time by rewriting his life's story He realizes he has left out the love of his life and so rewrites to include her. The beautifully written but horrifying story is divided into separate chapters detailing the lives of the characters who inhabit its pages. We all know the story of the war. Many of us lost brothers, husbands, sons, nephews, cousins as it changed our lives irreparably. However this book makes the reader feel the war is still looming.

I never remember hearing or reading of this resistance group at the time or any time since. I do not, however, doubt it existed. Reading of this very early resistance group, I am filled with admiration for them and do wish their efforts had been more successful. The world would be a very different place had they been.

Anna Funder also wrote Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, which has been translated into seventeen languages. All That I Am has won many accolades. I concur. It is a fine novel and well worth the read.

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