Motherland is set in Germany during the final months of World War II. The plot centers around the Kappus family: Frank, a reconstructive surgeon drafted into service; Liesl, his young second wife left behind to care for Frank's family; Hans, Frank's eldest son, still mourning the death of his mother and resentful of his new stepmother; and Ani, Hans's frail younger brother. Hummel illustrates the trials the family faces as the Third Reich crumbles around them, particularly Liesl's attempts to keep her stepchildren safe in the face of increasingly dire circumstances.
The novel is not the first to focus on how the war impacted the common citizens of Germany those who weren't involved in the decisions made by their government but who generally did support Hitler, at least initially. Hummel devotes little space to the atrocities the Nazis committed - the horrors of the Holocaust, ...
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