The Life of Objects

Moore, Susanna

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Life of Objects
Random House, Inc.

In 1938, seventeen-year-old Beatrice, an Irish Protestant lace maker, finds herself at the center of a fairy tale when she is whisked away from her dreary life to join the Berlin household of Felix and Dorothea Metzenburg. Art collectors, and friends to the most fascinating men and women in Europe, the Metzenburgs introduce Beatrice to a world in which she finds more to desire than she ever imagined.

But Germany has launched its campaign of aggression across Europe, and, before long, the conflict reaches the Metzenburgs’ threshold. Retreating with Beatrice to their country estate, Felix and Dorothea do their best to preserve the traditions of the old world. But the realities of hunger and illness, as well as the even graver threats of Nazi terror, the deportation and murder of Jews, and the hordes of refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army begin to threaten their existence. When the Metzenburgs are forced to join a growing population of men and women in hiding, Beatrice, increasingly attached to the family and its unlikely wartime community, bears heartrending witness to the atrocities of the age and to the human capacity for strength in the face of irrevocable loss.

In searing physical and emotional detail, The Life of Objects illuminates Beatrice’s journey from childhood to womanhood, from naïveté to wisdom, as a continent collapses into darkness around her. It is Susanna Moore’s most powerful and haunting novel yet.

Baker & Taylor
Drawn by a mysterious countess into the Berlin household of an aristocratic couple, Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, is introduced to the highly rarified world of affluence and art collecting on the eve of a World War II that threatens their lives. By the award-winning author of The Whiteness of Bones. 30,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Drawn by a mysterious countess into the Berlin household of an aristocratic couple, Beatrice, a young Irish Protestant lace maker, is introduced to the highly rarified world of affluence and art collecting on the eve of World War II.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307268433
Branch Call Number: FIC M
Characteristics: 239 p. ; 22 cm.


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Feb 26, 2014
  • uncommonreader rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It is difficult to understand what motivated Moore to write so sympathetically about the aristocratic class and their life of objects and so negatively about the liberating Red Army. I found it annoying that she always referred to the Soviet Union as Russia. In any case, the heroine grows up and leaves although it is unclear what she has learned.

Jan 22, 2014
  • InvernessS rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Also good audiobook

Aug 06, 2013
  • calvoer rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This would make a good BBC miniseries. An old story, the decline of the pre-war aristocratic class, told in a fresh and original voice. An unusual take on the WWII novel, this novel’s subject is the Metzenburgs, an entitled non-Jewish family in Germany whose members live for art, for beauty, and style but not for politics. A friend gives them a young Irish lacemaker as a whimsical “gift,” and it’s through her perspective that we see the family slowly being pulled into the vortex of war. The style is somewhat reportorial, lacking in emotion, but the effect nonetheless devastating. The first part might seem slow going, as the family and staff fuss over objets d’art and various seemingly superficial events, but the story builds steadily and I’m glad I stuck with it.

Jun 10, 2013
  • BrickBook rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I highly recommend this book, along with Code Name Verity. (But maybe not for the younger reader.) Moore skillfully gives us flawed characters about whom we care; this is not an easy writing task. Then she places these characters in one of the worst settings in human history.

Jan 06, 2013

not the typical wwII story that i expected. the narrator grows and changes before the reader's eyes. very well written.


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