Author: L. Annette Binder
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Book Description: For readers of Warlight and The Invisible Bridge, an intimate, harrowing story about a family of German citizens during World War II.
Included in the New York Times Book Review’s Summer Reading Guide for Historical Fiction
“There was no shelter without her sons.”
In 1945, as the war in Germany nears its violent end, the Huber family is not yet free of its dangers or its insidious demands. Etta, a mother from a small, rural town, has two sons serving their home country: her elder, Max, on the Eastern front, and her younger, Georg, at a school for Hitler Youth. When Max returns from the front, Etta quickly realizes that something is not right-he is thin, almost ghostly, and behaving very strangely. Etta strives to protect him from the Nazi rule, even as her husband, Josef, becomes more nationalistic and impervious to Max’s condition. Meanwhile, miles away, her younger son Georg has taken his fate into his own hands, deserting his young class of battle-bound soldiers to set off on a long and perilous journey home.
The Vanishing Sky is a World War II novel as seen through a German lens, a story of the irreparable damage of war on the home front, and one family’s participation-involuntary, unseen, or direct-in a dangerous regime. Drawing inspiration from her own father’s time in the Hitler Youth, L. Annette Binder has crafted a spellbinding novel about the choices we make for country and for family.
Rating: 2 Stars
Review: When I received this book, I thought I was going to be in for a wonderful treat. All I could keep thinking was maybe this would be a read alike for We Were the Lucky Ones. Unfortunately that could not be further from what the story was written about.
The author draws this story from her own father’s time in the Hitler Youth. While the author attempted to put together a narrative of this family during the end of WWII, I found myself wondering why this is even a story that needs to be written. I felt very disconnected from each member of the Huber Family. I do feel that this might make a good book club discussion, because I feel many people will walk away from this book with a multitude of different thoughts and feeling.
Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.