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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susanna Moore Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This elegant, haunting novel from the award-winning author of In The Cut and The Whiteness of Bones, set in Germany on the eve of the Second World War, is the story of one woman’s journey of self-discovery as a continent collapses into darkness.

Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, finds herself at the center of a fairy tale, whisked away from her humdrum life by a mysterious countess to join the Berlin household of the Metzenburgs, an enchanting, aristocratic couple whose vast holdings of art include a priceless collection of lace. But as Beatrice is introduced to the highly rarified world of affluence and art collecting, the greater drama of Germany’s aggression begins to overshadow it.

Retreating with Beatrice to their country estate, the Metzenburgs do their best to ignore the encroaching war, until the realities of hunger and illness, as well as the even graver dangers of Nazi terror—the deportation and murder of Jews, hordes of refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army—begin to threaten their very existence. While the Metzenburgs become the virtual lord and lady of a growing population of men and women in hiding, Beatrice, increasingly attached to the family and its unlikely wartime community, bears heartrending witness to the atrocities of the age.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A frightening and wholly convincing evocation of life in Germany during the twilight of the Third Reich.”

    J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize–winning author

  • “I find this book exhilarating—truly exciting, new, everything good—the people, the clothes, the food: every word.”

    Joan Didion, National Book Award–winning author

  • “This is a deceptively simple novel that manages that uncanny trick of great fiction: turning the familiar (ambitious provincial girl, World War II, glamorous aristocrats) into a thrilling, enchanting story you’ve never encountered before. Imagine Downton Abbey crossed with In the Garden of Beasts as fashioned by a literary master at the peak of her powers.”

    Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author

  • “In The Life of Objects, Susanna Moore tells the story of a young woman’s initiation into the worlds of beauty, suffering, cynicism, and grace. What astounds me about this work is its ability to attend with equal fidelity to the quiet nuances of self-discovery and the deceptions and depravities of World War II. This is a lyrical and courageous book.”

    Tracy K. Smith, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry

  • The Life of Objects isn’t long but it gives the full sweep of the Nazi reign and the Soviet occupation. Its details are so convincing, it reads like a memoir not a novel—a magnificent achievement.”

    Edmund White, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author

  • “A marvelous book, devastating in its simplicity. It’s a beautifully controlled examination of a life stripped, like a body in wartime, of inessentials. I love the fact that kindness—though not sentimentality—turns out to be an essential. But for me the heart of the matter is Moore’s language: as strong as plainchant, and as beautiful.”

    Nicola Griffith, World Fantasy Award–winning author

  • “[A] subtle and acutely written novel…[The protagonist] is drawn with razor sharpness.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Undeniably powerful…Moore’s an extremely assured novelist, and her themes here ring out.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “There’s something reminiscent of a fairy tale about Susanna Moore’s affecting new novel…Exquisitely written…a refined and sensual treat.”

    Washington Post

  • “A clear-eyed vision of wartime…Unusual in its frankness, and the sparseness, and beauty of its delivery.”

    NPR (Best Books of 2012)

  • “Gripping…With fine and taut prose…Moore has written a complex character to match her considerable talents as a novelist.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “If the Brothers Grimm had tackled the rise and fall of the Third Reich, they might well have produced a tale that reads like The Life of ObjectsThe Life of Objects is not your father’s standard-issue World War II novel; although Moore’s narrative angle on the war does remind me of Edmund de Waal’s extraordinary 2010 memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes…There’s a Jane Eyre feel to Beatrice’s arrival at the fabulous Metzenburg mansion…The tension of this novel arises out of [the] disjunction between the static, gorgeously adorned life of the Metzenburgs and the depravity of war roiling just outside their gates. Moore is rightly celebrated for her lithe style as a writer…Through Beatrice, she speaks of all-too-familiar atrocities in such a spellbinding way that she once again compels readers to, once again, listen.”

    NPR (Fresh Air)

  • The Life of Objects is absolutely gripping in the precision of its wartime narrative and chilling in its evocation of a fidelity to the sensuality of this world in the face of the most deeply cynical of the world’s capacities. This extraordinary novel speaks to class, emigration, and tragedy in our time as devastatingly as Buddenbrooks spoke to Thomas Mann’s own young century.”

    Susan Wheeler, winner of the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts & Letters

  • “I hadn’t realized that the lives led by people in the camps had a shadow existence outside the fences, that people were constantly faced with the chance to step one way or the other so that the person next to them would be chosen instead, and that forever after they had to bear their choice. Treachery one wants to call it, but it isn’t so simple. Some of the details and evocations of the house and the landscape and the habits of the connoisseur and the self are so striking that at times I had the feeling I was reading a memoir, something like Edmund Gosse, where the writer is trying to keep his head among belligerent circumstances, or, on the other hand, fiction like Samuel Butler’s. The writing in places is close to a standard that is nearly flawless. So much can happen in a sentence, by such slight (to the reader) but rigorous and elegant means. I nearly gasped at some parts. And there is something gravely and humanly funny about others.”

    Alec Wilkinson, award-winning author

  • “It could be a fairy tale: Beatrice, a simple Irish girl with a cold, mean mother, is swept up by a glamorous countess and whisked off to live with a rich and kindly family in a house full of exquisite things. Then reality kicks in…What unfolds in Susanna Moore’s novel The Life of Objects is an unsparing look at a country’s disintegration.”

    More magazine

  • “Award-winning author Moore delivers a heartrending portrait of the ravages of war, which is all the more poignant for Beatrice’s dispassionate narration. An elegant and moving tribute to the endurance of the human spirit.”

    Booklist

  • “[Beatrice is] an appealing, sometimes touching guide to a world where luxury and devastation coexist; friends may be spies; a Cranach painting means less than the potatoes it buys; all kinds of refugees seek safety on the estate; relationships change; and safety, although not love, is illusory.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This latest novel from Moore is a World War II story told from the perspective of a young Irishwoman…It’s fascinating to experience the buildup to World War II and the daily life of one wealthy German family at that time from the perspective of an outsider.”

    Library Journal

  • “Moore focuses a narrow flashlight on World War II…Even when the subject matter is graphically horrendous, the narration remains as reserved and understated as the Metzenburgs, who prefer not to reveal how deeply they feel, how willingly they sacrifice, how daringly they risk.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A BookPage Book of the Day, October 2012
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About the Author

Susanna Moore is the author of the novels The Big Girls, One Last Look, In the Cut, Sleeping Beauties, The Whiteness of Bones, and My Old Sweetheart, as well as two books of nonfiction, Light Years: A Girlhood in Hawaii and I Myself Have Seen It. She lives in New York City.