Ask non-fiction author THOMAS HARDING your question - on THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE or his other books - by 30 August!

(38 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Jul-16 16:15:39

From the acclaimed writer of Hanns and Rudolf comes a captivating part-memoir, part-history. Thomas Harding's The House by the Lake is our non-fiction pick for this month. Apply for a free copy now.

When Thomas Harding returned to the place from which his grandmother was forced to flee by the Nazis, he found the lakeside house falling down and on the brink of demolition. But what he also discovered was the traces of the families who had lived there. In The House by the Lake, Thomas masterfully weaves their personal stories with wider events to create a unique telling of the 'story of Germany'.

You can also read in this article what effect Brexit has had on the lake house and Thomas' own relationship with Germany

We're giving away 50 copies of The House by the Lake to Mumsnetters who want to read and share their thoughts about it on this discussion. Go to the giveaway page to find out more about the book and apply for a free copy.

Thomas will be answering questions about The House by the Lake and his other books, post yours here by 30 August. We'll put up answers to 15 of the best questions in mid-September.

You don't have to win a copy to take part in this discussion or ask Thomas a question. Everyone is welcome to discuss the book here. If you miss out on a free one, you can buy a copy.

This giveaway ends 11 July

JackandDiane Sat 16-Jul-16 21:25:23

LOVED this book although found the beginning a bit slow
HIs other one on Hanns and Rudolf is good too

Fizzywinegum Fri 22-Jul-16 15:56:52

Just got this in the post today - looks interesting - will post more when I've had chance to start it

Susangilley7 Fri 22-Jul-16 16:58:05

Just received my copy. Thank you so much. I look forward to reading this.

lovelybangers Fri 22-Jul-16 19:13:04

I've missed a parcel - maybe it's my book?

lexy444 Sat 23-Jul-16 09:24:37

Book arrived and I liked the Prologue, looking forward to reading the rest over the holidays

lovelybangers Sat 23-Jul-16 09:54:58

I have mine now.

Will make a start tomorrow.

Thanks mumsnet wine

Sunflower22 Mon 25-Jul-16 08:12:53

Great book - can't wait to finish it. Summer holidays, here I come.

katiebasey Mon 25-Jul-16 11:45:57

Just received my book, finding it hard going at the moment, hopefully get into it soon, will let you know.

girlsmum Mon 25-Jul-16 21:54:40

Just received... Will come back once I've started. Thank you.

shelaghh Tue 26-Jul-16 10:51:52

A story of a house that just about survived the traumas of the 20th century in Germany . It is trials and tribulations would have been reflected in the pain and suffering of the people who lived in it.
A Book worth reading- " Could you or i have survived the horrors of life and war-like the house has" ?

Gutted to have not got a copy of this. sad

My question is, 'How much do you think Germany is still shaped by the events of the 20th century?'

riverwell Wed 03-Aug-16 17:41:14

Thank you for this book. I have been surprised in the past that I actually really enjoy reading books that are based on such tragic times in history but this is def another one. I have learnt and gained a much greater understanding and perspective of what happened

AnnaCarroll Fri 05-Aug-16 15:10:21

This is the true story of the author's research into the small holiday home, just outside Berlin, built by his Jewish grandfather in the 1920s and subsequently abandoned by the family.
When the author visits in 2013 the house is run down, overgrown and about to be demolished. In an attempt to save the house that was his grandmother's pride and joy, he researches its history.
The story of the five families who lived in this house reflect the history of Germany in the 20th century. It is a story that veers from great joy to deep despair.
The book is well illustrated with maps photos and family trees. It is a factual historical report that reads like a novel ... I would recommend it.

BlackSusie2004 Sat 06-Aug-16 16:02:30

A fascinating read and it shows how it really would be interesting if 'walls could talk'.
Over the previous 100 years there has been 5 main occupants in the house on the outskirts of Berlin and their stories include the author's Grandmother's who fled the Nazis in World War II. Since then the house has fallen into disrepair and is on the verge of demolition and Thomas Harding tells the stories of the occupants.
What amazed me was that the house was occupied by Jewish and Nazi families as well as a state informant, something, for some reason, I had never thought of before.
The book reads almost like a novel at times and is much more than just a memoir.
Highly recommended.

girlsmum Sun 07-Aug-16 09:16:09

I'm 3/4 of the way through and thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to concentrate to read this book, it's not an easy quick flick like a chic lit. However, I'm finding it so very interesting. I don't think I had ever really thought about what happened in Germany after the war and this book gives a real glimpse.

I'm looking forward to a quiet hour later when hopefully I can finish it.

I would highly recommend.

lovelybangers Sun 07-Aug-16 20:56:42

I'm about half way through now.

I have learnt quite a bit about the history of how Jewish people were treated amd Hitlers progression into power. All new stuff to me.

Will try and get on with it further this week.

labradoodlemum Mon 08-Aug-16 15:22:10

I am nearly halfway through this so far and really enjoying it. Although it's an era I learnt about at school that was a long time ago ! and this is a fantastic way to make history feel real. The speed at which anti- Semitic laws were passed in Nazi Germany was eye opening and so hard to believe this was so recent too. Thomas Harding is an engaging author and , although I have to concentrate on this more than my usual fiction, it is not overly hard going. I am really looking forward to the next half. Thank you mumsnet for giving me this - I would not have ordinarily bought it and would have missed out .

Emmad1977 Thu 11-Aug-16 23:00:26

This isn't a book I would usually have chosen having read the blurb. However, I was excited to read something historical and enjoyed many elements of it. There were times when I had to skip back through previous chapters to refresh my memory on who characters were. Once I'd got into the book, I was keen to find out how the situation with the house would end. It was interesting to read about the history of the house and the country, particularly the building of the Berlin Wall. I remember it coming down so to read accounts of it being built and the impact on the people and economy was fascinating. Would definitely recommend to others.

lovelybangers Sun 14-Aug-16 19:57:53

I am still on it.

finding it hard to get the time to read at the moment - v frustrating.

Am over half way through though and the post war division of Berlin and Germany is very interesting. I certainly didn't know much of what happened and why.

mummy2myhoney Mon 15-Aug-16 10:26:25

Got the book in give away, thank you! Started reading - interesting and well written. Captivating story of Germany through the eyes of tenants of the house. Would recommend for those interested in history.

lovelybangers Tue 16-Aug-16 21:46:34

I have finished.

Was a great read once I got stuck in.

Definitely learnt a lot about the history of that time and place.

tworonnies1957 Thu 18-Aug-16 19:04:18

received this book and started to read it I just couldn't put it down , a book of social history about the lives and times of one house and the people that lived in it, very moving and evocative . very well written if you was not lucky like me to win a copy I would go out and buy a copy or get a copy from your local library

suz1rr Fri 19-Aug-16 14:04:44

Struggling to find time to read this, but when I do get 5 minutes to sit down with it, I'm really enjoying it! Will hopefully have made some more progress by the end of the month!

lovelybangers Sun 21-Aug-16 13:18:38

My question: how many of the East Berliners found it tricky to readjust to western life?

I had never considered how difficult some would find it

The book was very thought provoking. The war was so long ago yet so recent.

I have passed it to my husband to read now so it will be interesting to see what he picks up on

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