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The Dark Room

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,166 ratings  ·  131 reviews
The Dark Room tells the stories of three ordinary Germans: Helmut, a young photographer in Berlin in the 1930s who uses his craft to express his patriotic fervour; Lore, a twelve-year-old girl who in 1945 guides her young siblings across a devastated Germany after her Nazi parents are seized by the Allies; and, fifty years later, Micha, a young teacher obsessed with what h ...more
Published May 5th 2005 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,579)
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Ben Kane
I've owned this book since either 2002 or 2003, and tried to read it twice, never managing to read more than about 15 pages. Something made me keep it, however - perhaps it was the haunting real life photo on the cover. Anyway, serendipity struck yesterday. I picked it up, started reading, was sucked in and read more than 200 pages in one sitting. I finished it this evening in about an hour. This is an extraordinary book, broken into three tales, all of ordinary Germans, the first two of which a ...more
Flora Baker
Having read other reviews of this book, I feel both confused and harsh about giving my own opinion. Despite a compelling plotline detailing the aftermath of WW2 in Germany, and a fresh perspective given by German citizens (with somewhat Nazist sympathies) about the war, I felt strongly that the writing was really much too spare, cold, and empty to be deemed worthy of the storyline it was describing. I felt completely uninvolved with the characters' plights; I may as well have been reading histor ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the ways history touches specific lives
This is the best work of fictional work that employs history without being didactic that I have read since "The Known World." And I am usually very annoyed by WWII novels set in Germany, which all seem to be too much History Channel and not enough literary value. This book means something.
I really liked this book. It is about the holocaust, but told from the perspective of Germans who lived through it. There are three short stories - the first is about a teenage boy who is handicapped so can't join the German army, bu wishes he could. The second is the story of five children whose parents were arrested at the end of the war for being Nazis and they have to make their way across a divided Germany to try and find their parents. The last is set in modern times about a guy obsessed w ...more
This book is interesting as it tells the story of WWII, but from Nazi German perspectives. The characters are children in parts 1 & 2. Part 3 involves an adult researching his grandfather's involvement in WWII and the subsequent knowledge of his grandfather's decisions and actions, how Micha feels about him knowing what he did. This is a thought provoking novel, from a perspective I haven't encountered before now.

Another reviewer says this:

People are 'both right and wrong, good and bad, both
A story that captured my eye mainly due to my interest in the holocaust. I've read many fiction and non fiction material on the holocaust and the appauling effects it had on the Jewish community. However, never have I read a perspective from other Germans living during the war and afterwards. The innocent relatives of the people who were part of the Nazi party; feeling the impact and after effects of the consequences members and their family faced when Germany lost the war and the full extent of ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Elizabeth added it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Sue Grainger
Tremendously well researched, which gives the book verisimilitude. It's the story of three different German families and the effects that WWII has on them. One story takes place during the war, one immediately after, and one fifty years later. Two of the stories focus on the effects of parents and grandparents having been Nazis.

If there had been any connection between the three different sections other than the extremely tenuous link of "photographs were taken during the war," this would have be
Robert Ronsson
I read Sebastian Faulks's book A Possible Life recently and criticised it for being five disparate stories purporting to be a novel. The Dark Room is similar in that it's three narratives but this time they are connected by their being set in WW2 Germany.
The device works better here and I think it's because of the closer proximity of the stories. The protagonists' three different viewpoints on Facism make a three-dimensional whole that is solid and stands up to scrutiny.
The three stories show th
Marc Maitland
This is a trio of very different stories, all with the common theme of how three very diverse sets of Germans deal with the rise and ultimate fall of Nazism. The first of the trio is set in the glory days of the ascent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, as seen through the eyes of a naïve young man, and what happens afterwards. The second is a somewhat rambling story of a 14-year-old German girl who, with her younger siblings survives the disappearance of her Nazi parents and the struggles to get to ...more
In this wonderful novel, Seiffert examines three separate individuals' efforts to cope with the devastation of the Second World War and the shame which enveloped Germany in light of the atrocities committed in the name of Aryan ideals. The novel is structured around three figures covering three distinct time periods and their relationship to the rise, fall, and aftermath of Nazism. Helmut, a disabled photographer's assistant, illustrates with his experiences, the need to be accepted by a majorit ...more
I chose to read this book after seeing the movie Lore, which is based on one of the three stories in this book, The Dark Room. The book is broken into three stories of Germans and focuses on World War II. The first is about Helmut, a baby born missing a muscle in his chest that will weaken his ability to use his right arm. A lifetime working on strengthening the muscles and his arm only do so much good and as a child and eventually a young man he begins to understand that it will always be a bur ...more
Oct 07, 2008 Pamela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Pamela by: a book club choice
What can I say about this profoundly moving and evocative trio of novellas except OMG. This was a Booker Prize Finalist 2001 (not surprising) and winner of the LA Times Book Prize.
Seiffert's sparse, lyrical prose pierces to the heart of the matter and evokes time, place, character, humanity, and wrenching emotion with the cleanest stroke of the keyboard. Such power and so little dressing.

Seiffert opens a window into the dark rooms occupied by three Germans whose lives are shaped, and shattered,
Erika Duan
Upon first thought, the book seemed segmented- with the first two stories disappearing in mid-narration and a final which dragged slightly, weighed by its protangonist's inability to leave a single thought.

But his thought is a heavy one. Mischa is haunted by the possibility of his grandfather's active participation in the Holocaust, tormented by questions of past atrocities negating present humanity. The inability to find a single best answer, with 'not enough sadness, and no punishment' for th
Ian Sear
An audiobook listen.

Made up of 3 stories that are set in Germany and concerned with the second world war. The first 2 stories were ok, nothing brillant. The last story was really interesting and brought up the question of whether you could still love your relative that may have done something terrible in the war to innocent people.
The first two sections of this book were fascinating and I struggled through the third thinking somehow it would all come together in the end, which it didn't. It could be read as three separate stories and I felt sense of disappointment that we never find out what happens to the characters in the first two sections.

That said I loved her sparse style of writing and she had the ability to evoke a sense of place and time in a very effective manner. The characters on the first two sections were fas
I normally don't enjoy Booker shortlisters, but in this case I was interested in the subject matter. The book is divided into three sections, exploring the effects of the war on different, unrelated Germans both pre-war, during the war, and post-war.

The first section, about a photographer, was written in an interesting manner - the short scenes and sentences was evocative of photographs that he might have taken on the streets of Berlin.

The second section is about a 12 year old girl helping her
I recently saw the movie "Lore", which is based on one of the stories in this book. The movie received excellent reviews at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals. Amazing and enlightening! The German baby boomers have been living with this awful feeling of guilt, asking themselves what role their parents played in the holocaust and why the young people in Germany did not seem to question the Hitler Regime.
Este libro aborda, a través de tres relatos ambientados en diferentes épocas, sucesos históricos de gran relevancia, no sólo para los germanos. Como no podía ser de otro modo, el conjunto está teñido de un profundo tono de angustia vital que, aunque casa muy bien con la temática, a mí me resulta un tanto deprimente, sobre todo por esa sensación general de indeterminación en la conclusión de las historias: será que la vida es así.

Su mayor baza, además de la calidad narrativa, es su capacidad para
Claudia Putnam
I might rather give this 3.5 or 3.75, but skewing up for ambition.

Although the characters were so well drawn it was hard to let go of them and move to the next story, I disagree with the reviewers who felt that it was a flaw in the book to keep each storyline separate. The author faced tradeoffs either way. If she'd interlinked the three stories somehow, say by having them all be about members of the same multigenerational family, or perhaps in the same neighborhood, she would not have been abl
there is a good review here;

oops bought this today vintage international edition 2001 29/11/2013 but already have it. 29/11/2013 1 0f 20 books for $10 the lot
Although I give this a 4, I feel this book was uneven in quality, so maybe 3.5 rounded to 4 is more accurate.
The binding theme of these three novellas about ordinary Germans of successive generations was how the protagonists and those around them were affected by World War II. Each was a bleak story but also searing psychological fiction.

"Helmut" is a young man, born in 1921 with a physical defect. Because of a missing muscle, he cannot lift his right arm above his shoulder. He is made fun of i
This is not really a novel but rather 3 stories about the impact of WWII and the holocast on German citizens. The stories are quite interesting, but all that ties them together is that the stories reflect the impact on non-combatants of the actions of Hitler-led Germany.

The first is about Helmut, who was born with a bone missing that made it impossible for him to raise his arm over his shoulder. He gets along fine until school when he is not allowed to play sports. He develops a fascination with
Tasha enderby
This was a three part story to three very diffrent people in world war II, I had never read a book like this one but it was fun. The only thing all three had in common was their love for photography, or how photo's saved their life. I liked that it was three short stories instead on long book that dragged. The first young man was a German, his family joined the party like all good Germans did who wanted to keep their jobs. He studied with a famous photographer and loved developing photo's, he al ...more
I was intrigued by seeing the movie, "Lore". I don't think I need to announce "Spoiler Alert" when I say the the movie and book are very different.This isn't a review of the movie, so I'll just say that the movie is much more ambiguous than the novel. In fact, the reason I wanted to read it is to get a better grasp of the movie.

The first two stories do not deal at all specifically with the Holocaust,and that's the point. From what we're told, neither Helmut nor Lore, both Germans raised in Nazi
Have you ever bought a book only to read it years later? When I bought this more than 3 years ago, it's a clean paperback soon tucked away between shelves and moving to a newer home, and I just discovered it again 3 days ago. It was getting moldy and musty, and everything I want not for a book collection. Almost threw it with the rest of my 'giveaway' books to donate to Goodreads Indonesia!

SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt Nordland (Wiking)

Then I started reading.. There are 3 stories of 3 different characters set in 3 different lifetimes. The o
I loved the book, it has great stories and very clear that you can imagine all of it in your head, there was one common thing in all the stories there was a part in the middle where the story dragged on or felt like it didn't go anywhere. However, the stories kept you drawn in to the book that you couldn't put it down and left you at the edge of your seat near the end so much that you want the author you make a whole 300 page book just off that story alone. You get drawn into the characters and ...more
Ally Armistead
Five out of five stars for Rachel Seifert's beautiful novel "The Dark Room." Wow. This is one of those novels I so wish I had written: I am both envious and awe-inspired and motivated to try harder. Spare, lean, unsentimental, Seifert explores the Second World War from the view point of German civilians. She does this through three, carefully-chosen perspectives: a disabled photographer's assistant who is unable to fight in the Third Reich, but finds a use for himself (regardless of his disabili ...more

In my opinion ‘The Dark Room’ was incomplete and disappointing because it was written as three separate stories. The common link is that they are all set in Germany and are stories about three Germans and the effect that the devastation caused by the Nazis in World War II has on their lives.
They read more like short stories; the first is only 63 pages and is about a young man Helmut. Born in Berlin in 1921 by the time war arrives he is working as a photogr
This book is 3 separate stories the title relates to the first story which I first read about 2 years ago then found the second story about German Jewish children who's parents were taken away too hard to read. Having come back to it during this time of Remembrance I could not put it down. The last story is particularly revealing about a modern German wanting to know about his grandfather and what he did in the war. It makes you realise that the Germans of today are just like any other families ...more
Its funny that tamar gave me this book, and I may have liked it even more than she did. As she pointed out, the stories get progressively more powerful. The spare writing gave it a very archetypal feel, and I think the stories also progressively become more unique to WW2: The bombing of berlin, the carving up of germany after the war, and unique digestion of German crimes by future generations. Its the third story that almost feels like commentary on reading the first two. The protagonist echoed ...more
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