At times, you come across a book where you are wholly confused about what it is trying to be and how. You may be confused about the genre, the setting, the context, the characters - but whatever you are confused about seems to colour your reading experience of the rest of the book. Now, I'll never tell you not to read a book on here, even if I give it a bad review. I'll always say this: read the book for yourself. It's very important to make up your own mind, and maybe if there is something I don't fully get about the book or can't get into - you may be able to work it out and it won't colour your experience of the narrative. Unfortunately though, there were a few things that made me think about the legitimacy of this book by the context in which it placed itself.
It's 1926 in a small town in Germany where nothing ever happens. Now, I'm going to stop you right there. It's Germany and it's 1926 and nothing is happening? As someone who specialised in Weimar German Cinema throughout their film analysis academic life I have to laugh. If you are paying any attention whatsoever it was probably these small towns that were most impacted by rising crime rates, unfortunate price hikes and the fear of the other (sighs in despair). Starting a book off with the fact that nothing ever happens in this town in the midst of a full scale reparation madness, in a time of deep and shattering uncertainty and at a time where the entirety of the German townsfolk landscape lost its collective shit is simply reductive to someone who has had to read about this era over and over again. What actually happened was deeply upsetting.
The fact that a baby girl has disappeared feels like it is trying its hardest to present some sort of empathetic pull that has nothing to do with the context of the time and place. I don't know whether I like this. I think that using both the context of Germany during the 1920s and the disappearance of the little girl would have made for a more understandable aspect of 'everyone's a suspect' since the rising crime rates are caused by sheer desperation. There was a much easier way to do this and by including context, there would have been a better atmosphere.
The fact that there are so many accused and thought to be the culprites either does not make sense from time to time, or throughout the course of the book it just becomes tired. Now, this is just my thoughts - but I would insist you read the book and try to see for yourself whether you enjoy this style of writing.
I thought ultimately, the book was pretty misleading. There is something that is advertised as being 'dark' and 'mysterious' about this book but I just found it to be your regular historical crime novel - just without the context of time and place. But, even though it was well written from time to time, there was little atmosphere that dragged me into the book. It didn't beat me around and I didn't come out of it sweating and gasping for breath. I was wholly unimpressed. However, I have known people who really like this book - so it's open to everyone's opinions and everyone, at the end of the day, is completely correct.
In conclusion, this simply wasn't my thing. I thought it would be because of the description on the back of the book and I thought it was going to be a dark and mysterious thriller novel. However, I was simply just a bit underwhelmed. I will be awarding my marks based on the writing style, which was actually alright - not too much dialogue and some good descriptions here and there.