On Sale: May 1, 2018
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Since the liberation of the Netherlands in May 1945, Emma
Verweij has been living in Rotterdam, on a street held
together by the powerful bonds of friendship formed among
neighbors during the Second World War. She has worked hard
to block out the war years she spent in Nazi Berlin, when
she was married to her first husband, Carl. Eventually, Emma
married Bruno, her second husband, and they had two sons
Now ninety-six years old and on the eve of her own death,
Emma is besieged by long-forgotten memories that crowd into
her consciousness despite their long banishment, along with
flashbacks of happier years and of the terrible tragedy of
the war. She reflects on her marriage to Carl, a "good"
German who resisted the Third Reich and paid the ultimate
price for it; her father, a Dutch diplomat who secretly
worked to help refugees escape the Nazis and to supply the
British intelligence service with critical information; and
the many friends she has lost, during the war and since.
In The Longest Night, the impressive, reflective
follow-up to News from Berlin (described by the
Guardian as "restrained and monumental"), Otto de Kat
deftly distills the momentous events of twentieth-century
history into the lives of his characters. In the person of
Emma, the past and the present coincide in soulful fragments
of rare, melancholy beauty.
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