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Remote Sympathy
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
13 posts | 8 read | 13 to read
Chidgey is a gifted writer.The Guardian A novel of devastating beauty set in Buchenwald during the Second World War. Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isnt nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind and life in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. Lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them is the looming presence of a work camp. Frau Hahns husband, SS Sturmbannfhrer Dietrich Hahn, has been assigned as the camps administrator. When Frau Hahns poor health leads her into an unlikely and poignant friendship with one of Buchenwalds prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her nave ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged. A decade earlier, Dr Weber had invented a machine believed at the time that its subtle resonances might cure cancer. But does it really work? One way or another, it might yet save a life. A tour de force about the evils of obliviousness, Remote Sympathy compels us to question our continuing and wilful ability to look the other way in a world that is once more in thrall to the idea that everything even facts, truth and morals is relative.
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Cinfhen
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Pickpick

Everything about this book from its brilliant title to the hidden & more obvious themes of denial, culpability, responsibility, hope and betrayal was beautifully written & woven. While the subject matter was difficult, I found the book accessible & hard to put down. It‘s an interesting perspective of the Holocaust that I often don‘t see in fiction. I thought the author magnificently blended fact & fiction creating a plausible & compelling story.

Cinfhen Thank you @TrishB for sending me this book. SO very appreciated 🥰😘 4w
TrishB I‘m so glad you enjoyed it ❤️ I think I‘m the only one who didn‘t! 4w
squirrelbrain Great review! It‘s a challenging read, but sooo good! 4w
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Cinfhen I‘m 💯 suggesting it for my bookclub @TrishB @squirrelbrain and now I want to read her other book 4w
sarahbarnes Waiting for this one to come in at the library. Great review. 4w
jlhammar Excellent review! I hadn't even heard of this book or author before the Women's Prize longlist. Really glad I read it and definitely interested in trying more by Chidgey. The Wish Child does sound really good. 4w
Cinfhen Thanks @sarahbarnes @jlhammar same about book & author / I‘m definitely interested in reading more of her backlog. This one sounds good too 4w
Cinfhen Ugh! So frustrating both books have no description on Litsy !! Check out GoodReads🤓😂 (edited) 4w
Amiable Gorgeous flowers! 4w
Cinfhen Thanks @Amiable they are SO CHEERFUL 💗💖💗 4w
74 likes1 stack add10 comments
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Cinfhen
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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It‘s a #GooglyBook @rockpools and I‘m totally immersed in the story- have you read it?? A German dr is sent to Buchenwald, the Nazi “work camp” as a prisoner because he has a Jewish grandparent. It soon comes to an officer‘s attention that Dr. Weber is able to treat those with cancer. What is SS Sturmbannfuhrer Hahn willing to do to get the help he seeks? I love all the grey areas this book tackles. Excellent choice for #BookClub

Cinfhen I feel like maybe you might want a second chance with this book @TrishB ??? 1mo
TrishB I‘m not sure! I didn‘t like the writing style or any of the characters….even though I know the rest of the world has really rated it 🤷‍♀️ 1mo
rockpools This has kind of passed me by… but maybe I‘ll give it a go. Sounds like a really interesting set-up. And you know I love a GoogleyBook! If I ever open a book again…. 1mo
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Cinfhen
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Starting this #chunkster #UpNext #HighExpectations despite the fact that my bookish bestie “didn‘t get on” with this one 😂

TrishB I‘ll be very curious to see what you think 😁 1mo
53 likes1 comment
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Cinfhen
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Lovely #BookMail from the wonderful @TrishB
I LOVE the Liverpool bookmark 💗💗💗
Thanks so much for sending this book my way- I‘m looking forward to reading it 🤓

TrishB So relieved it‘s arrived 😁 4.5 weeks!! Enjoy when you get to it - everyone else seems to really rate it. 1mo
Cinfhen I know @TrishB !!!! I‘m really looking forward to reading it!! I didn‘t realize it‘s a bit of a chunky!!! 1mo
LeahBergen Ooo, that bookmark! 👀 1mo
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squirrelbrain Lovely! And I really liked it, even though I know @TrishB didn‘t! 1mo
Cinfhen I‘m SUPER EXCITED about the bookmark @LeahBergen I‘m glad to hear you enjoyed the book @squirrelbrain I know it‘s a heavy topic 1mo
TrishB I‘ll look forward to your review 😁 1mo
68 likes6 comments
blurb
AnneCecilie
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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review
JillR
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Pickpick

A sobering yet not sensational or judgemental story of those in and around Buchenwald “model camp”, how they bought into what they were being told from those in charge, and from propaganda. Told from the perspectives of Greta and Dietrich, an officer at the camp, and Dr Weber who is of distant Jewish descent, this is extremely well done historical fiction that still, unfortunately, felt timely today.

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TrishB
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Bailedbailed

I‘m guessing it‘s definitely me by all reviews. Didn‘t like any of the characters (I know you‘re not really supposed to!). But Greta! Really, were any of the officers wives this stupid and naive? Got to 150 pages and that was it, wasn‘t enjoying at all.

Cinfhen Ugh, that‘s disappointing!! At least you gave it a go!! 2mo
TrishB @Cinfhen think this definitely looks like me as I haven‘t seen another bad review. I can send you my copy if you‘re still interested! I know that‘s not much of an offer as I just said I didn‘t like 😁😁 2mo
Cinfhen I actually would LOVE your copy if you really don‘t mind!! 2mo
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Cinfhen Thank you 😘 2mo
squirrelbrain You can‘t win them all! 🤷‍♀️ 2mo
TrishB @cinfhen 👍🏻 on its way (metaphorically as PO not open today!). 2mo
jlhammar Yeah, this isn't a book of likable characters to be sure. I kind of took it more as shining a light on the stories they all told themselves to be able to witness and allow such terrible things. To show how it wasn't just a few monsters, but regular people who actually made something like the Holocaust possible. They all knew even if they didn't want to face it and told themselves stories to be able to live with it and benefit from it. 2mo
TrishB @squirrelbrain nope and I‘m happy for someone else to give it a go! 2mo
TrishB @jlhammar yes that‘s so true- I‘m guessing I was probably reacting to the excuses! 2mo
jlhammar @TrishB I bet! It was hard to take. 2mo
squirrelbrain Well said @jlhammar - the testimony of the ‘regular‘ Weimar townspeople was certainly shocking. 2mo
Cinfhen Thanks so much! And I agree @jlhammar that‘s what makes the Holocaust so horrific / ordinary people turned a blind eye, which makes my heart break now regarding Ukraine😢😢😢 2mo
jlhammar @Cinfhen Yes! I definitely found myself thinking of Ukraine while reading this. 2mo
78 likes13 comments
review
squirrelbrain
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Another book from the #womensprize long list that I probably wouldn‘t have read otherwise, but I‘m glad I did as it turned out to be one of my favourites.

Greta‘s husband is a senior officer at Buchenwald in WWII so the family live just outside the camp. Greta becomes ill and one of the prisoners is called upon to treat her with an unusual machine he had invented.

Told from 4 different POV, this is an interesting and unusual perspective of WWII

TrishB I‘m just thinking of bailing on this 🤷‍♀️ I‘m guessing it gets better? I‘m at 150 pages and don‘t really like the writing style or any of the characters, I‘m guessing it‘s me because it‘s getting really good reviews. 2mo
squirrelbrain Hmmm, I think if you don‘t like it now @TrishB I‘d bail. It doesn‘t really change, and I liked it from the start, although none of the characters are likeable or sympathetic. 2mo
TrishB I think I‘ll take your advice! 2mo
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BookishTrish
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Pickpick

Fourth of my Women‘s Prize longlist reads. I usually get engrossed in long WWII narratives and this was no different. The story of an unlikely friendship with a prisoner at Buchenwald and a German officer‘s wife. Told from the POV of the prisoner, the husband, the wife, and a chorus of bystanders.

Hooked_on_books Your bowl looks delicious! 2mo
LeahBergen Are those beets? Yum! 2mo
BookishTrish @LeahBergen beets and sweet potato and tofu 2mo
57 likes3 comments
review
rmaclean4
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Pickpick

Historical fiction about a German work camp during WWII. Skillfully told from 4 POV. Moving and straightforward story telling. Not my favorite from the Womens Prize list but close to the top of the list of the ones I have read so far.

review
jlhammar
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Pickpick

A powerful examination of the human tendency towards willful blindness. I found the “From the Private Reflections of One Thousand Citizens of Weimar” sections, a sort of chorus from residents of the nearest town to the Buchenwald camp, especially effective.

My sixth from the #womensprize longlist. Sorrow and Bliss remains my favorite, but I wouldn‘t be sad if this one makes the shortlist.

rmaclean4 I would be happy to see it on the short list. Just started Sorrow and Bliss. 2mo
jlhammar @rmaclean4 Look forward to your thoughts on S&B. Hope you enjoy it. I just started The Paper Palace. Has me turning the pages quickly, but not sure how I feel about it yet. 2mo
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review
thewallflower0707
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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If you only want to read one #WomensPrize nominated book 📖 this year, choose #RemoteSympathy.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️,75/5

squirrelbrain Ha! This will be the last one that I read - just reading the Kupersmith now and then onto this one…. Glad it was so good! 3mo
jlhammar So happy to hear that! Planning to read this one soon. 3mo
19 likes2 comments
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jlhammar
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Another from my Women‘s Prize order. I hadn‘t even heard of this one before the longlist announcement and it sounds so good. #bookmail

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