Cover image for At the wolf's table
Title:
At the wolf's table
ISBN:
9781250179142
Personal Author:
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Flatiron Books, 2019.

©2019
Physical Description:
275 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"Originally published in Italy in 2018 as Le assaggiatrici by Feltrinelli."
Summary:
Germany, 1943: Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer's parents are gone, and her husband Gregor is far away, fighting on the front lines of World War II. Impoverished and alone, she makes the fateful decision to leave war-torn Berlin to live with her in-laws in the countryside, thinking she'll find refuge there. But one morning, the SS come to tell her she has been conscripted to be one of Hitler's tasters: three times a day, she and nine other women go to his secret headquarters, the Wolf's Lair, to eat his meals before he does. Forced to eat what might kill them, the tasters begin to divide into The Fanatics, those loyal to Hitler, and the women like Rosa who insist they aren't Nazis, even as they risk their lives every day for Hitler's. As secrets and resentments grow, this unlikely sisterhood reaches its own dramatic climax, as everyone begins to wonder if they are on the wrong side of history.
Added Author:
Language Note:
Translated from the Italian.
Holds:

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On Order

Summary

Summary

The international bestseller based on a haunting true story that raises provocative questions about complicity, guilt, and survival.

They called it the Wolfsschanze, the Wolf's Lair. "Wolf" was his nickname. As hapless as Little Red Riding Hood, I had ended up in his belly. A legion of hunters was out looking for him, and to get him in their grips they would gladly slay me as well.

Germany, 1943: Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer's parents are gone, and her husband Gregor is far away, fighting on the front lines of World War II. Impoverished and alone, she makes the fateful decision to leave war-torn Berlin to live with her in-laws in the countryside, thinking she'll find refuge there. But one morning, the SS come to tell her she has been conscripted to be one of Hitler's tasters: three times a day, she and nine other women go to his secret headquarters, the Wolf'sLair, to eat his meals before he does.

Forced to eat what might kill them, the tasters begin to divide into The Fanatics, those loyal to Hitler, and the women like Rosa who insist they aren't Nazis, even as they risk their lives every day for Hitler's. As secrets and resentments grow, this unlikely sisterhood reaches its own dramatic climax, as everyone begins to wonder if they are on the wrong side of history.


Reviews 1

New York Review of Books Review

It's 1943. Ten women are gathered at a long wooden table, plates piled high with buttered string beans, roasted peppers, rice and peas. But it's not a feast. The women are food tasters, making sure the dinner cooked for Hitler has not been poisoned. "My mother used to say eating was a way of battling death," recalls the main character, Rosa Sauer, in Postorino's engrossing novel. Those words capture the paradox at the heart of this story, which is based on the life of Margot Wölk. Rosa, whose father died a year and a half after the war started and whose mother was killed in a bombing raid, has just arrived from Berlin to live in the countryside with her new in-laws. Her husband, Gregor, who is in the German Army and fighting on the Eastern Front, is pleased with the arrangement, knowing that his parents will look after his young wife. But then SS officers come to tell Rosa that her services are needed at Hitler's secret headquarters. Three times a day, she and the other women are brought to the Wolfsschanze, the Wolf's Lair, to eat the FUhrer's meals before he does. Some of the women are proud to serve, others aren't sure what to think. Questions of loyalty not just to the Nazis but to one another boil just below the surface as the women form uneasy bonds. They know that they are lucky to have food to eat during wartime, but they also know it comes at a cost, and they struggle with that. "The ability to adapt is the greatest resource of human beings," Rosa says. "But the more I adapted, the less I felt human." "At the Wolf's Table" is Postorino's first novel to be translated into English from her native Italian. Her ability to beautifully convey feelings of guilt, shame, love and remorse in a single gesture is a sign that we will be hearing more from her. susan ellingwood is an editor on the Books desk at The Times.