The Other Side of The War: City of Women by David R. Gillham

I haven’t written anything in a while because I have been pretty busy this fall. I am interning at a literary agency in New York which has been great! Most of my job is reading manuscripts and giving feedback on them, which is very similar to how I approach reading on my own anyway. I have also been using a lot of the information I learned from my Creative Writing and English classes in my critiques which has been pretty cool – I feel like I am actually using my degree right out of college which does not always happen…

I am still working on figuring out the whole reading for work vs. reading for fun schedule, but today I was able to finish the book I have been reading. I finally decided to delve into the books that I got at BEA and I was not disappointed. City of Women by David R. Gillham came out this past August. It tells the story of Berlin during World War II when all the men were off fighting the war, hence the title of the book. The protagonist, Sigrid, is just trying to maintain her daily routine of going to work, living at home with her mother in law, and dealing with the frequent air raids over Berlin. When life gets too hard for her, Sigrid escapes to the cinema, and to the memory of a previous affair she had had. Soon however, Sigrid’s life goes from being an empty void to being filled with a secret and a purpose that she shares with Ericha, a young girl who lives in her building, to counteract the effects of WWII on war torn Berlin and its citizens.

What really drew me into the novel was the level of story telling and description that Gillham includes in every detail of the novel. 1940’s Berlin becomes real through his writing, and the setting takes a role as it’s own character within the story. One review described it as claustrophobic, which I definitely saw come across in the descriptions of the city. To convey such emotion in the setting, I think, is very impressive. According to his website, Gillham used to be a screen writer which comes across very well within the narration of his story. It makes the whole thing very gripping.

I also thought that the characters were very well done. Sigrid is extremely strong willed and comes across as unique in her dark and drab war setting. Her side kick, Ericha is also equally strong willed and interesting. Gillham makes sure that even his minor characters stand out and have multiple layers behind their exterior.

The world that Gillham creates for his characters is one that is both relatable and oddly foreign, which I think makes the book a great read. I was impressed. I just don’t know what to read next…


2 thoughts on “The Other Side of The War: City of Women by David R. Gillham

  1. Pingback: Winter of the World: The Second World War | goodbookscents

  2. Pingback: What’s Happening to American Girl? | goodbookscents

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