The House by the Lake, by Thomas Harding

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Thomas Harding’s The House by the Lake is in some ways similar to Penelope Lively’s A House Unlocked which I read and reviewed back in 2009.   Lively’s book tells the stories of objects in her family’s country house that her grandparents bought in 1923, and in doing so creates a social history of her time, covering the period of rapid change in the interwar years as well as WW2.  However in one crucial respect,  Harding’s memoir of his family’s house and its people is different: whereas the Lively house always stayed in family hands, for the house by the lake in Germany there were five changes of ownership during the tumultuous 20th century.

A hundred years after Otto von Wollank’s estate had run into economic trouble after the First  World War; after the collapse of Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, communism and reunification; after five families had fallen in love with the…

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