If the Dead Rise Not

If the Dead Rise Not

Book - 2011
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Twenty years after being embroiled in the Nazi regime of 1934 Berlin, detective Bernie Gunther pursues a quieter life in Havana but is thwarted by an encounter with a killer from his past who is murdered at the same time a former lover reappears
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 2011
ISBN: 9780143118534
Branch Call Number: FIC Kerr, P 100 2011
Characteristics: 437, 15 pages ; 20 cm


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Nov 04, 2018

Good look at Berlin during the rise of fascism in the early 1930-s. The second part jumps to pre-Castro Cuba connecting the twenty years in between. One has to be patient at times with the details of love life but all in all it is a good read giving lesser known facts about the times in both countries.

Dec 10, 2016

(The sixth book in the Bernie Gunther series)

Aug 17, 2016

LOve it !! Love the series .Keep reading it over and over #420

Jul 16, 2015

This book is awful. Having read Philip Kerr’s first three novels in the anthology edition, Berlin Noir, I knew what to expect, so I was not really surprised that I didn’t enjoy this book. It had the same things that I liked and hated in the first novels, and I chose to read it because there are some things I like in it.
Kerr’s historical description is detailed, concrete and sufficiently accurate factually that I’m willing to credit him with likely getting the life details right. So if you want to know how one negotiates life under a fascist bureaucracy, and that’s the sort of thing I am interested in, then there is a reason to read Kerr’s fiction. Of course, Kerr’s protagonist, Bernie Gunther, does much more than negotiate everyday life – he’s kicked out of the police for his support of the liberal goals of the Weimar Republic, but feels compelled as a hotel detective to look into the criminals in the hotel who are profiteering with the Nazi government. Under a tough exterior, he has an honest heart, but one he has to hide to survive the corrupt times. His frequently cynical, sarcastic comments can be read as an expression of the conflict he feels.
Between the seedy bars and Alexanderplatz police station, the Olympic construction site and the Adlon Hotel, he covers a lot of Berlin, and later covers similar ground in Cuba. He shows the petty and major corruption, the ambitions and the avoidances that Berliners adopt to get by or to profit under the violent, anti-Semitic and racist nationalism of the Nazis. He paints a picture that is vile and gritty with no sense of hope except to just get through until things change. I imagine that that’s how a lot of people did try to survive.
Unfortunately, Kerr overdoes the historical detail, so some passages read as if he found some interesting descriptions in his research, and wants to cram it all in. Curious as I am about the period, I don’t need exaggerated architectural description to get the point.
What I don’t like about this book, and the earlier ones I read, are the clumsy, overdone “hardboiled” style in which it is narrated. Kerr adopts the most obvious characteristics of Raymond Chandler’s style without restraint, and embellishes them with grotesque exaggeration and unrelenting sexism. Written in the first-person voice of narrator Bernie Gunther, it’s inescapable and it’s too much. Where Chandler used a sarcastic wit to illuminate his character’s point of view, Kerr turns the style into caricature. By half way through the book, I began to skip the satirical asides because they added nothing to the characters or the storyline.
Kerr’s characters are little better. They are stereotypes with little depth or development. When they do something unexpected, rather than think that there is a new side to a complex personality, I just think, where did that come from? The relationship that develops between Gunther and the American hotel guest merely seems absurd and unbelievable. The introduction of a string of American characters seems more of an attempt to build up readership in the USA rather than anything necessary to the storyline.
I started the book as a light alternative to the fairly heavy novel I had been reading, but it’s not light or a pleasure to read. So I’m done with Philip Kerr. I’ll learn about Germany under the Nazis elsewhere.


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