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Publisher's Summary

"Angela Dawe is an outstanding narrator for this expansive audiobook...Dawe's voice is strong, and her pace is excellent. As a good narrator will do, she lets the story shine with patient grace and confident kindness. This audiobook is definitely worth a listen." (AudioFile Magazine)

An extraordinary family saga following a mother and two teens as they navigate a new life in East Germany

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Beate Haas, who defected from East Germany as a child, is notified that her parents’ abandoned mansion is available for her to reclaim. Newly divorced and eager to escape her bleak life in upstate New York, where she moved as an adult, she arrives with her two teenagers to discover a city that has become an unrecognizable ghost town. The move fractures the siblings’ close relationship, as Michael, free to be gay, takes to looting empty houses and partying with wannabe anarchists, while Adela, fascinated with the horrors of the Holocaust, buries herself in books and finds companionship in a previously unknown cousin. Over time, the town itself changes - from dismantled city to refugee haven and neo-Nazi hotbed, and eventually to a desirable seaside resort town. In the midst of that change, two episodes of devastating, fateful violence come to define the family forever.

Moving seamlessly through decades and between the thoughts and lives of several unforgettable characters, Thomas Grattan’s spellbinding novel is a multigenerational epic that illuminates what it means to leave home, and what it means to return. Masterfully crafted with humor, gorgeous prose, and a powerful understanding of history and heritage, The Recent East is the profoundly affecting story of a family upended by displacement and loss, and the extraordinary debut of an empathetic and ambitious storyteller.

A Macmillan Audio production from MCD

©2021 Thomas Grattan (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Recent East

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  • Robin Leslie
  • 15-09-2021

Boring Boring Boring

Unlikeable, sullen, self-absorbed characters, all of whom are boring beyond belief. Could not get past the first few chapters.

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  • David
  • 29-05-2021

Our East German Home

The daughter of defectors from East Germany grows up in America, goes to college, marries, has two children, then returns with her teenage kids to her large childhood home. That is the setup for Thomas Grattan’s fascinating novel, a multi-generational saga that focuses on life in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The three main characters—Beata, her daughter and son—are each independent and a little prickly, not always likeable. But the novel is psychologically astute. Other German characters and events offer a view of life in a post-Communist country still hurting from its totalitarian past. There are surprising scenes with former secret police, refugees, skinheads and the upper crust. The narration by Angela Dawe was just right.

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