Jeff Giles
September 21, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Life of Objects

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Susanna Moore
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

A sheltered Irish teenager — gifted at lace-making and longing to live life with a capital L — gets swept up in the lives of a rich, well-meaning German family just as the terrible wheels of World War II start turning. The first half of The Life of Objects feels slow and familiar, partly because the war is just noise in the distance as the family wait and worry at their estate outside Berlin. The second half is undeniably powerful, though, as the family’s kindness toward refugees is repaid with British bombs and, later, brutality at the hands of the victorious Russians. Moore’s an extremely assured novelist, and her themes here ring out even if we’ve heard them before: War changes everyone, and nothing is promised to us forever, not even each other. B+

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