The Hiding Game
by Naomi Wood
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Pub Date 11 Jul 2019 | Archive Date 18 Jul 2019
Pan Macmillan, Picador
The gripping third novel by Naomi Wood, author of the award-winning Mrs. Hemingway.
In 1922, Paul Beckermann arrives at the Bauhaus art school and is immediately seduced by both the charismatic teaching and his fellow students. Eccentric and alluring, the more time Paul spends with his new friends the closer they become, and the deeper he falls in love with the mesmerising Charlotte. But Paul is not the only one vying for her affections, and soon an insidious rivalry takes root.
As political tensions escalate in Germany, the Bauhaus finds itself under threat, and the group begins to disintegrate under the pressure of its own betrayals and love affairs. Decades later, in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy, Paul is haunted by a secret. When an old friend from the Bauhaus resurfaces, he must finally break his silence.
Beautifully written, powerful and suspenseful, Naomi Wood's The Hiding Game is a novel about the dangerously fine line between love and obsession, set against the most turbulent era of our recent past.
Average rating from 56 members
Tangled loves in dark times
This is the story of six friends who studied together at the famous Weimar art school, where the art teachers included Vassily Kandinski and Paul Klee. As an old man in austerity-hit post-WWII England, Weimar alumni Paul Beckermann reflects on his time there with his friends. Even if you've never heard of the art school, the friends' entanglements should hold your interest.
At the start, Paul is linked with the beautiful Charlotte, Walter with Jeno (short for Eugene) and Kaspar with Irmi. This changes when Paul jealously thinks he sees Charlotte coming out of Walter's room. The book charts their changing lives and entanglements in the turbulent inter-war era and into the second world war. A beautifully-written story of decisions made (sometimes selfishly, sometimes generously) in troubled times. My favourite book of the year so far.
This is an exhilarating story, which mirrors the nature of the setting. Simply stunning, a fantastic thrilling read! This is a must read!
Set mostly in pre-war Germany, this historical novel, is set at the famous, Bauhaus art school. As such, it has appeal in terms of both the setting and the story. It begins with six friends, together in the golden years, at the beginning of the Bauhaus movement; starting in 1922 and winding through the pre-war years and, indeed, into the present.
The story is told mainly from the point of view of Paul Beckermann, who moved to London. The news that one of their group had died, leads him to think back and remember his youth, his love of the beautiful, unconventional, Charlotte, and recall his regrets.
This is a novel about friendship, love, betrayal, secrets and the shadow of history. For the excess of the Weimar Republic gives way to the rising National Socialist Party and a new, political regime. I really enjoyed the historical background, the writing was excellent and this would be a good choice for book groups, with lots to discuss. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
"The Hiding Game" is not only compelling fiction but also extremely informative, with historical detail about the Bauhaus movement and the frightening rise of right wing extremism in the 1920s and 30s.
I was a bit taken aback when I read the first pages. These tell the reader quite a lot about the ultimate fate of some of the key characters, and I feared that it might spoil the plot. I wouldn't say that it added to the novel for me, but it did give me a certain perspective on the twists and turns of the plot. But what interested me more than the fiction itself was the history of the Weimar Republic and of the Bauhaus Movement both of which I plan to investigate further.
This is one that I shall re-read!
With thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.
This is a fascinating portrayal of a particular place and time and I learnt a lot about the Bauhaus movement from both the story and online research as the various people, settings and works of art inspired me to look them up along the way.
The tale is narrated backwards but the ending still comes as a tragic surprise, a reminder that all is not necessarily as it seems, especially in a time of war. I warmed least to Paul, the protagonist, but found a lot to empathise with in his quest for belonging which leads him to lose any chance of belonging - in either Weimar, Dressau or Berlin,
This is a beautifully-written and elegiac story and as someone who just feels very little connection to the visual arts (as opposed to the written word) I think it's impressive how much it moved me.