Part Diary, Part Memoir in WWII


By Susanna Moore
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.00, 240 pages

Susanna Moore’s The Life of Objects reads part-diary and part-memoir. Beatrice, a young Irish girl noted for her lace making, leaves her poor home to become part of the Metzenburg household in Berlin. The wealthy Metzenburg home is filled with priceless objects collected throughout the years. As World War II progresses and the Nazis take over the country, the Metzenburgs and their staff move to a country estate. For a short time their lifestyle is preserved but soon refugees, the Red Army, and hunger take over the Metzenburg house. At the same time the beautiful, priceless objects hidden through the estate begin disappearing as Felix Metzenburg sells the objects to save the lives in the household. Even with all the objects, Felix ultimately cannot avoid being jailed and sent to camp. Dorothea Metzenburg attempts to sell her remaining jewels but there is no one left to buy them.

Moore writes with vivid detail and I was immersed in the day-to-day details of the war-time household. Beatrice began her journey as a naïve young girl, but by the end she has seen and experienced way more than her physical age dictated. This is a compelling read that you will not want to put down.

Reviewed By Seniye Groff

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