Title: Wish Child, The
Authors: Chidgey, Catherine
Genre: Fiction: New Zealand
Pages: 382
Year: 2016
Publisher: Victoria University Press
Language: English
Description: The Heilmanns in Berlin and the Kronings tending their land near Leipzig, two loyal families working hard and accepting the Fuhrer's assurances of eventual victory. It is through their respective children, Sieglinde and Erich that the domestic detail of life under the Third Reich is revealed, innocent eyes capturing the ascent of a dream and the failure of a monstrous regime.

Poignant and insightful, this is a remarkable story, aided by its mysterious narrator, revealing ordinary citizens believing until they could no longer. and asking the question - why did no-one ask questions? [Larger font]
Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, War theme, Historical, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, Tragedy/disaster, 2019 Titles, Larger font


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By: KATIK 001 2021-03-10 12:40:01
An unusual, yet appealing, focus on ordinary German family life during World War 2. Chidgey captures well the innocence of children as they face the growing organisation and tightening restrictions placed on them by the harsh rule of their beloved leader. The Fuhrer can do no wrong, but the reader, with the hindsight of history, fills in the gaps and wonders how even the adults are carried along with propaganda. The two women, Frau Miller and Frau Muller, were a welcome ease of tension and were so believable! Discovering the identity of the narrator came to some of our group earlier than expected, as we wondered at the wistful, fragmented passages of vague longing. An interesting and talented author we would like to meet again.

By: WANAK 010 2020-10-11 20:07:14
Three of our group did not finish the book finding the plot difficult to follow, resulting in a 4 star rating. Those that did read the book felt that it was well researched and very cleverly written. It gave a very different perspective on the war and showed how propaganda was used effectively to manipulate a population's view of the world. Having just watched the Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma' many of our group felt that there is a real risk for something like this to happen again with social media being used to manipulate the way groups of society view the world.

By: MAST 005 2020-03-13 12:23:04
Group found this a challenging read, and would not recommend to other groups. We thought it was overly ambitious and overly complicated with too many themes. We liked the author's style of writing.

By: HAVE 011 2020-03-13 12:21:36
Excessive themes and devices made for confusion and lack of cohesiveness. Hard to get into. Generally pleased to have read it but wouldn't readily recommend.

By: MAST 004 2020-03-13 12:19:29
Technically well-written but for most members it lacks real depth, hence the average rating.

By: AUCK 143 2020-03-13 12:18:23
Only 2 people finished the book. Most found it a bit obscure. It did give a very good idea of peoples' adoration of and belief in Hitler.

By: AUCK 320 2020-03-13 12:16:03
Whilst we appreciated the historical research, none of us enjoyed this book.

By: NELS 014 2019-10-09 14:46:37
We loved this book, such beautifully crafted writing. And excellent discussion questions too.

By: ASHB 004 2019-07-17 14:38:46
More than one of our members said that this book is one of the best books that we have read in this programme of 30 years! It took most of us a while to adjust to the metaphors and the many threads of narrative. We improved on this as we progressed with the book. The insight into the lives of ordinary German citizens in the war was alternately fascinating and horrifying...

By: LOWER 002 2019-07-10 13:47:13
All enjoyed the book - one member felt Catherine Chidgey to be a genius, another found the writing fantastic, but the plot a bit overburdened. One member taught in the English Dept of the author's secondary school, and took full credit for it all:-)

By: AUCK 027 2019-07-10 13:43:35
Most of the group read part of the book and found it hard to get into. The 3 who finished it loved it.

By: ONAWE 001 2019-07-10 13:41:31
Very good notes. Very well-written and well-researched.

By: FEILD 001 2019-05-30 13:27:11
This story was brilliant. It was such a clever depiction of the insidious way in which ordinary law abiding people were manipulated into becoming wilfully ignorant citizens... This was a very different story of World War II. Excellent notes!

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