All That I Am

Funder, Anna

  17 Reviews

The cost for those who opposed Hitler's rise to power in Germany was high: death, imprisonment or exile. This is the story of a group of dissidents facing these possibilities but continuing to resist Nazism and attempting to tell the world what was happening.

Alternating between narrators, Ruth in 21st Century Sydney and Ernst from 1939 New York, this compelling fictionalised account of actual events brings to our attention the disturbing history of a country pursuing nationalism at all costs and the price individuals paid as the world looked the other way.

Comments from Groups

Once more opinions varied on the book which created a very worthwhile discussion. Some found the distinction between fact and fiction difficult to absorb but on the whole the history, philosophy and brilliant writng made this an unforgettable book for most. Nelson 019

This book was rated at least 8/10 by all of the group-beautifully written and a haunting and tragic story - brilliant marriage of fact and fiction. Greytown 001

This book was a `goodie`. everyone enjoyed it. Beautifully written, great characters, well researched and obviously written by a very talented author. Napier 011

It was a really good book, well written and important content. We had a really productive discussion. We did find the notes disappointing-especially the summary. Wellington 123

Everyone found this book absolutely marvellous. We loved it. Beautifully written, quite moving & a truly gripping & rivetting `novel` that encompasses so much truth & history. We agreed with all the reviews & would highly recommend this book. A definite `must read`. Wellington 041



A good read with some beautiful writing. Some colourful characters at a hugely significant time in history.
5 stars - unanimous. We were all really impressed by this novel - the passion, the courage...the fact that these people are not commonly known about. It was so well-written and researched and all the people felt really authentic. This book generated a wonderful evening's discussion, staying closely to the topic!
This generated a vey good discussion. We enjoyed the book and found that it stayed in our thoughts.
AUCK 174
Varied responses overall. Some found it very interesting/ a depiction of the period between the Wars about which they knew little. Some found the "voices" of the characters too stilted/similar/unrealistic. The portrayal of Ruth as an old woman was much more realistic and immediate, and engaging as a result. The combination of real but "fictionalised" people was seen by some as problematic.
NAP 023
Anna Funder is a fine author - some very good and moving descriptions.
We all found this a story few of us knew about. However, we thought that it could have been more gripping if written as non-fiction. The pace was somewhat uneven, with interest lagging but then aroused again as the story reached an interesting place.
Unanimous approval - a different approach/view of pre-war Nazi Germany. Beautifully written - a skilful weaving of historical fact and fiction. Characters were realistic and sympathetically portrayed. Refreshing to read a different perspective in a different setting - London.
AUCK 379
Whatever the individuals of our group thought of this book, it definitely elicited the most diverse and lengthy discussion. Most agreed it was a good story but written in a convoluted style. Our scores consequently had a wide range. We described it as a work of 'fact'ion.Most of the discussion centred around how we would respond in a similar situation as individuals, and how our society might respond, and I have to say we were quite disturbed by our response...
AUCK 037
We all enjoyed the book. It was a fascinating read about a period in history we knew little about, and a group of people who placed their survival in the hands of the British. The interweaving of real life people and events with fictional or imagined characters was skilfully done. It was quite a difficult novel to get into as the chapters jumped from one narrator to another, filling in the past and returning to the present.The second half of the book was enthralling, and terrifying as the Nazi threat unfolded and our characters' safety was constantly in jeopardy. A masterly book...
AUCK 349
Wide ranging views, scored between 2-4. Some said the story was too complex. Others loved it.
We found this a profound, thought-provoking read. Enjoyed the challenge.
TAUR 016
Our group enjoyed this book very much. They felt it was a fascinating and shocking insight into Hitler's rise, the resistance to it, and the ruthlessness with which his opponents were treated. The characters were well-developed, especially Dora, and the switches in viewpoint were felt to be clever and well-managed. Secrecy and trust were important themes, and the author's hints of betrayal maintained the sense of suspense and intrigue. A well-written, powerful story.
CHCH 185
Very mixed views for this book. A number thought it was excellent, others were lukewarm.
The book threw light on a relatively little known period of history for our group - WWI/WWII Germany, and specifically the plight of refugees exiled in London. An interesting group of characters all of whom are factual. The author has been very creative in bringing them to life. Many interesting points to discuss.
AKAR 001
Some found this book difficult to settle in to. The mixing of fact and fiction, the differing time lines, the changing ages, the style of dividing the chapters into individuals' points of view. We weren't sure that we could identify with the people. However - the overall topic (pre-war Germany, London, refugees etc) was most interesting. It is important we read widely around the events of WWII and I, and remember the Holocaust.
Not all completed this book. Those that did found it a difficult read, but a fascinating insight. Probably tried to do too much, and needed fewer characters.
The group considered this the very best book of the year. The first time there were no conflicting views. Thank you!